Quo Warranto Act, 1798



An Act for the Amendment of the Law in Proceedings upon Information in Nature of quo warranto.


from the 1st day of Easter term, 1798, defendants to informations, in the nature of quo warranto, may plead having undertaken or executed office or franchise 6 years before; to be computed from time of admission or swearing;

such plea may be singly pleaded, or otherwise;

if issue be found for defendant, be shall have judgment and costs.

WHEREAS it would tend greatly to secure the freedom of election, and the quiet, tranquillity and good order of cities, boroughs, and towns-corporate if a certain reasonable limitation of time, were by law established beyond which no member or officer of any city, borough, or town-corporate, should be disturbed in the enjoyment or exercise of his office or franchise: be it therefore enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in parliament assembled, That after the first day of Easter term, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight, it shall and may be lawful for the defendant or defendants to any information, in the nature of a quo warranto, for the exercise of any office or franchise, in any city, borough, or town-corporate, whether exhibited with leave of the court, or by his Majesty's attorney-general, or other officer of the crown, on behalf of his Majesty, by virtue of any royal prerogative, or otherwise, and every of them severally and respectively to plead that he or they had first actually taken upon themselves, or held, or executed the office or franchise, which is the subject of such information six years or more before the exhibiting of such information, such six years to be reckoned and computed from the day on which such defendant or defendants so pleading, shall have been actually admitted and sworn into such office or franchise; which plea shall or may be pleaded either singly, or together with and besides such plea as he or they might have lawfully pleaded before the passing of this act, or such several pleas as the court on motion shall allow; and if upon the trial of such information, the issue joined upon such plea shall be found for the defendant or defendants, or any of them, he or they shall be entitled to judgment, and to such and the like costs, as he or they would by law have been entitled to, if a verdict and judgment had been given for him or them upon the merits of his or their title.

Prosecutor may reply to such pleas.

II. Provided always, and be it enacted, That in every such case, the prosecutor of such information may reply to such plea any forfeiture, surrender, or avoidance, by the defendant of such office or franchise, happening within six years before the exhibition of such information, whereon the defendant may take issue, and shall be entitled to costs in manner aforesaid.

In what case titles of persons against whom informations are exhibited shall not be affected by reason of defects in titles of persons electing, &c.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons against whom any such information as aforesaid, shall be exhibited, shall derive title under an election, nomination, swearing into office, or admission by any person or persons, the title of such person or persons against whom such information shall be exhibited, shall not be defeated or affected by reason, or on account of any defect in the title of such person or persons so electing, nominating, swearing into office, or admitting, in case such person or persons under whom title shall be derived as aforesaid, shall have been in exercise de facto, of the franchise or office, (in virtue of which he or they so elected, nominated, swore in, or admitted) for the space of six years at the least previous to the time of filing such information, and his or their title shall not have been questioned by any legal proceeding, carried on with effect.