Dispensation Law and Legal Definition

Depending on the context used the word dispensation has varied meanings. Dispensation may be:

  • an exemption from some rule or obligation
  • a share that has been dispensed or distributed
  • the act of dispensing (giving out in portions or distributing)
  • a system of principles, promises, and rules ordained and administered. For example Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian dispensations.
  • Legal leaning of dispensation is an exemption from a law, duty or penalty. It is the permission to do something forbidden by law. Dispensation can also be the relaxation of law for the benefit or advantage of an individual. In U.S., the power to dispense with law exists only in legislature.

    According to Canon Law of Roman Catholic Church dispensation is the suspension of general rules of law by competent authority. For example exemption from Ecclesiastical laws or obligation to God which a man has incurred of his/her own free will (oaths, vows, etc.). It is the act of freeing of a religious from the obligations of the vows s/he has made and allowing him/her to return to the life of a lay Catholic.

    In the Scofield Reference Bible a dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.