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Quo Warranto in United Kingdom

Quo Warranto

Introduction to Quo Warranto

Quo Warranto (Latin, “by what warrant”), in law, in the United Kingdom and the United States, title of a special proceeding by which the state or an aggrieved individual begins an action to inquire into the right of an individual or corporation to hold a particular office or franchise.

Examples of cases in which quo warranto proceedings are used in the U.S. are the usurpation of a public office by an individual not properly elected; the assumption of unlawful powers by officers of private corporations; and an inquiry into the right of a public-service corporation to have a specific franchise. The right of a foreign corporation to do business in a state can also be questioned by a quo warranto proceeding. In most states such proceedings are brought in the name of the attorney general of the state, either in his or her official capacity or in his or her name as a private individual.

These proceedings may be brought only in the highest courts of original jurisdiction and are generally triable by jury, although not in New York State. In actions brought by attorneys general for the usurpation or unlawful exercise of an office, they may in their complaint give the name of the person rightfully entitled to such office and show that person’s right thereto. The defendant may be subject to a fine and also a suit by the aggrieved individual for damages sustained as a result of usurpation of office by the defendant. Attorneys general may also secure orders for the civil arrest of defendants on the ground of fraud if by means of the usurpation these defendants have received any fees belonging to the office.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about Quo Warranto in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to Quo Warranto

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    Schema Summary

    • Article Name: Quo Warranto
    • Author: Danny W.
    • Description: Introduction to Quo Warranto Quo Warranto (Latin, by what warrant), in law, in the United Kingdom and the United States, [...]

    This entry was last updated: August 24, 2014


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