Warrant of Attorney


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Warrant of Attorney

A written authorization that allows an attorney named in it to appear in court and admit the liability of the person giving the warrant in an action to collect a debt.

This writing is usually given to help ensure that the person signing it will pay the amount that he or she would be obliged to pay if a judgment were entered against him or her. It usually contains an agreement that no action will be started against the signer if the obligation described in the paper is satisfied. Essentially the warrant of attorney is a cognovit note that permits a confession of judgment (a shortcut to obtaining a judgment against a debtor that is now illegal in most states).

WARRANT OF ATTORNEY, practice. An instrument in writing, addressed to one or more attorneys therein named, authorizing them generally to appear in any court, or in some specified court, on behalf of the person giving it, and to confess judgment in favor of some particular person therein named, in an action of debt, and usually containing a stipulation not to bring any writ of error, or file a bill in equity, so as to delay him.
     2. This general authority is usually qualified by reciting a bond which commonly accompanies it, together with the condition annexed to it, or by a written defeasance stating the terms upon which it was given, and restraining the creditor from making immediate use of it. 31. In form it is generally by deed; but it seems, it need not necessarily be so. 5 Taunt. 264.
     4. This instrument is given to the creditor as a security. Possessing it, he may sign judgment and issue an execution, without its being necessary to wait the termination. of an action. Vide 14 East, R. 576; 2 T. R. 100; 1 H. Bl. 75; 1 Str 20; 2 Bl. Rep. 1133; 2 Wils. 3; 1 Chit. Rep. 707.
     5. A warrant of attorney given to confess a judgment is not revocable, and, notwithstanding a revocation, judgment may be entered upon it. 2 Ld. Raym. 766, 850; 1 Salk. 87; 7 Mod. 93; 2 Esp, Rep. 563. The death of the debtor is, however, generally speaking, a revocation. Co. Litt. 62 b; 1 Vent. 310. Vide Hall's Pr. 14, n.
     6. The virtue of a warrant of attorney is spent by the entry of one judgment, and a second judgment entered on the same warrant is irregular. 1 Penna. R. 245; 6 S. & R. 296: 14 S. & R. 170; Addis. R. 267; 2 Browne's R. 321, 3 Wash. C. C. R. 558. Vide, generally, 18 Eng. Com. Law Rep. 94, 96, 179, 209; 1 Salk. 402; 3 Vin. Ab. 291; 1 Sell. Pr. 374; Com. Dig. Abatement, E 1, 2; Id. Attorney, B 7, 8; 2 Archbold's Pr. 12; Bing. on Judgments, 38; Grah. Pr. 618; l Crompt. Pr. 316; 1 Troub. & Haly's Pr. 96.
     7. A warrant of attorney differs from a cognovit, actionem. (q.v.) See Metc. & Perk. Dig. Bond, IV.