Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Warrant Definition:

A document giving a person legal authority to do a certain thing.

Related Terms: Quo Warranto, Sheriff

The 1938 edition of Wharton's Law Lexicon defined a warrant as "an authority; a precept under hand and seal to some officer to arrest an offender, to be dealt with according to due course of law; also a writ conferring some authority, a citation or summons"."

"A warrant is a writ issued by an authorized officer directed to a person requiring him to do a certain act.

"A warrant is a writ from a competent authority, in pursuance of law, directing the doing of an act."

Those were the words adopted by Justice Dawson of the United States District Court (New York) in Milton v Manning.

Anderson suggested that commission and warrant were synonymous and that a warrant meant:

"A writing from a competent authority, in pursuance of law, directing the doing of an act, and offering him protection from damage if he does it."1

In the area of securities law, note these words of Justice Champlin of the California Court of Appeal in Robert Half International v. Franchise Tax Board:

"A warrant is simply an option to purchase the shares of a corporation at a specified price and for a specified period of time. It differs from an option in that it is issued in the form of a security and is normally intended to be traded in the public market."


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