Quo Warranto Law & Legal Definition


Quo warranto is the legal term for a writ (order) used to challenge another's right to either public or corporate office or challenge the legality of a corporation's charter. When the authority of an offical or corporation to take action is challenged, a quo warranto action may be used to demand that the right upon which they base the action be stated.

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with quo warranto:

"(a) An action may be commenced under this article, in the name of the state, against the offending corporation, on the information of any person for the purpose of vacating the charter or annulling the existence of any corporation, other than municipal, whenever such corporation:

  1. Offends against any of the acts creating, altering or renewing such corporation;
  2. Violates the provisions of any law, by which such corporation forfeits its charter, by abuse of its powers;
  3. Has forfeited its privileges or franchises by failure to exercise its powers;
  4. Has done or omitted any act which amounts to a surrender of its corporate rights, privileges and franchises; or
  5. Exercises a franchise or privilege not conferred on it by law.

(b) The judge of the circuit court, whenever he believes that any of the acts or omissions specified in subsection (a) of this section can be proved and it is necessary for the public good, must direct the district attorney to commence an action, or an action may be commenced without the direction of the judge on the information of any person giving security for the costs of the action, to be approved by the clerk of the court in which the action is commenced.

(c) Actions under this section must be commenced in the circuit court of the county in which the corporation has its principal office or, if it has no principal office, of any county in which it does business; or if it has no principal office and is doing no business in the state, such action may be commenced in any county."