Abuse of Power

Abuse of Power

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Abuse of Power / Abuse of Market Power


The misuse of discretionary power by a person in a position of authority (e.g., police, professor, politician, etc.).  

Leveraging power inappropriately to induce a person subject to discretionary power to commit an act in which they would not normally engage (e.g. sextortion, bribery, fraud, etc.).  

Abuse of power can take various forms including: bullying or harassing behavior; sextortion; requesting staff to do personal errands or favors; pressuring staff to distort facts or break rules; etc.  

Passive bribery is, by definition, an abuse of power.   

In trade practices, abuse of market power is misuse of a dominant position to undertake unlawful activities such as predatory pricing. Abuse of power is at the heart of breaches of fiduciary duty. 


The Law Dictionary; Oxford Reference; UNESCO.org; comments from UNISHKA 

Word in Use:

“The police have been accused of an abuse of power by using anti-terror style tactics against protesters after two young women claimed they endured terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers.” The Guardian; “Women’s anger at ‘abuse of power’ during Bristol police raids’” April 3, 2021. 

See Also:

Malfeasance; institutional abuse, power-mad, jack-in-office


Abuse of power is not specifically referred to as an impeachable offense in the U.S. Constitution, which states that a president can be removed from office for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” But many legal scholars have argued that the founders of the United States intended the phrase “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” to broadly encompass abuses of power. Reuters

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