First, a charter can be defined broadly as the highest law of an entity. More specifically:
- In corporate law, the articles of incorporation.
- In public law, the instrument by which a municipality is incorporated (e.g., city charter).
- This type of charter includes the highest laws of the municipality and its organizational structure.
- In legislative law, a government act that establishes a publicly funded business or undertaking.
Second, in popular usage, a charter is the lease of a bus, airplane, ship, or other usually large or expensive vehicle for transportation.
- A person who signs such a lease is said to charter the vehicle.
- The vehicle used under this agreement is said to be chartered.
[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]