Home Recommended Products Contact Us
Resources & Links
Fatherlessness Statistics
Child Support
Legal Resources
Search This Site
Bad Judges List
Free Templates
Restraining Orders
Judicial Abuse Stories
Father's Stories
Legal Help & Referrals
Constitutional Rights
Table of Contents
Terms & Conditions
Signup for Newsletter
Search Site
Quo Warranto.
  1. Quo warranto is an extraordinary procedure used to prevent an official or legal entity from exercising its authority in an unlawful manner and to try title to a public office, corporate office or franchise.
    1. The primary question in quo warranto cases is whether some person or corporation has usurped or intruded into another's lawful office or authority, or whether that person is unlawfully holding or executing an office or franchise.

    2. If the person against whom a quo warranto action is brought is found to not have a valid claim to the office or authority he is holding or exercising, he can be ousted from office or prevented from continuing to exercise that authority.


    3. The theory is that the office or franchise has been forfeited by an act of misconduct by the official or corporation and thus is usurping power illegally.


  1. Some examples of the use of quo warranto are:


    1. To determine whether a public official is qualified to hold his office and exercise the functions of the office. Grounds for quo warranto might be corruption in office, willful failure to perform statutory duties, or not having the qualifications prescribed by statute for an office.
    2. To test the legality of an annexation by a municipality. The party challenging the annexation has the burden of proving it is illegal.
    3. To forfeit the charter of a business corporation for such things as criminal violations, conducting business in an unlawful manner, fraudulently issuing stock, etc.
    4. To terminate the franchise of a utility company.

  2. The procedure in quo warranto proceedings is set out in Rule 98 and Chapter 531, RSMo.


    1. The Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and circuit courts have concurrent jurisdiction of quo warranto proceedings. Accordingly, quo warranto may be initiated in either a circuit or appellate court, depending on the nature of the case and the respondent.

    2. Generally, venue in quo warranto is governed by the same rules and statutes governing civil legal cases.


    3. A private citizen cannot initiate a quo warranto proceeding. It is brought by the prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney for matters arising within the county or circuit and by the Attorney General for matters of statewide scope.


      1. The party seeking relief is called the relator and the person against whom relief is sought is the respondent. The action is brought in the name of the State of Missouri.

      2. The Attorney General may bring an action on his own information, in which case the suit would be: "State of Missouri ex inf. John Doe, Attorney General v. John Smith."


      3. The Attorney General may bring the action at the relation of a person who has a special interest in the subject matter of the action, in which case the suit would be: "State of Missouri ex inf. John Doe, Attorney General, ex rel. Richard Roe v. John Smith."


      4. Similar rules are followed for actions brought by the prosecuting or circuit attorney.


      5. The private citizen seeking to have a quo warranto action filed must have a special interest in the matter, an interest greater than that of the general public.


    4. Notice of the filing of a quo warranto information must be given to the respondent similar to cases for writ of prohibition. The respondent then files his answer.


    5. An actual trial in quo warranto is rare. Normally, the parties will stipulate to the facts and argue the law before the court or in briefs. The Supreme Court may appoint a master or commissioner to hear evidence, if required.


    6. The court may oust a corporation from its franchise (in effect, terminate the corporate charter) or remove an official from office, or order less drastic action, such as a fine, or leave an official in office but direct him to cease the unlawful usurpation of power. A fine may, however, be imposed in addition to ouster. Persons disobeying an order in quo warranto may be found in contempt of court.


    7. If quo warranto is sought by the Attorney General or a prosecuting attorney, a preliminary rule (as in prohibition) will be issued as a matter of course. The issuance of a preliminary rule is not "automatic," however, if quo warranto is requested by a private citizen through the Attorney General or prosecuting or circuit attorney.

The Missouri Press-Bar Commission
(Last Update: 2001)