Warrant definition (law)



A warrant in terms of legal vocabulary can mean a couple of slightly different things.

  • The first one, which is one you hopefully don’t have to worry about, is to do with the police. If the police have been issued a warrant for your arrest, then they are allowed to arrest you on a pre-existing charge as defined by a judge. This means that they do not have to catch you doing something, but can arrest you without significant proof based on the word of someone else. Scary, right?
  • Police can also gain a warrant to search your house or other property you may own in order to make sure you aren’t doing something illegal. Again, this is issued by a judge, so even if you are doing nothing wrong, your house could be searched!
  • The third definition that we are going to set out here, is that warrant is a verb that means a person is allowed or has justification to do something.

Hamish: Fiona, I need to remind you that if you break our confidentiality agreement then it will warrant legal action.

Fiona: I know, Hamish. I am not going to tell anyone about your product, please don’t worry!

Hamish: Great. I just needed to check you understood that this is serious business.

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