quo warranto

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Quo warranto is Latin for "by what warrant” (or authority). A writ of quo warranto is a common law remedy which is used to challenge a person's right to hold a public or corporate office. A state may also use a quo warranto action to revoke a corporation's charter. When bringing a petition for writ of quo warranto, individual members of the public have standing as citizens and taxpayers.

In one case from Alabama, the court noted that the writ of quo warranto is “utilized to test whether person may lawfully hold office and the purpose of writ of quo warranto is to ascertain whether office holder is constitutionally and legally authorized to perform any act in, or exercise any functions of, office to which he or she lays claim”

See also: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 81(a)(4)

[Last updated in March of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]