Night Watchman State Law and Legal Definition

A night watchman state refers to a state with the least possible amount of powers, to uphold law. Powers exercised by a night watchman state cannot be reduced any further without abolishing the state altogether and instituting a form of anarchy. Powers of the state is limited to the police, the judicial system, prisons and the army to protect individuals from coercion and theft, punish criminals, and defend the country from foreign aggression.