The exercise of professional expertise and judgment, as opposed to strict adherence to regulations or statutes, in making a decision or performing official acts or duties.
A discretionary action is informal and, therefore, unprotected by the safeguards inherent in formal procedure. A public official, for example, has administrative discretion when he or she has the freedom to make a choice among potential courses of action. abuse of discretion is the failure to exercise reasonable judgment or discretion. It might provide a cause of action for an unconstitutional invasion of rights protected by the due process clause of the Constitution.