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1 a formal warning given to a person suspected or accused of an offence that his words will be taken down and may be used in evidence.
2 a warning to a person by the police, or in Scotland by the Procurator Fiscal, that while it is considered that there is enough evidence for a prosecution, no such prosecution will take place but that the matter will be kept on file.
3 a notice entered on the register of title to land that prevents a proprietor from disposing of land without a notice to the person who entered the caution.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CAUTION. A term of the Roman civil law, which is used in various senses. It signifies, sometimes, security, or security promised. Generally every writing is called cautio, a caution by which any object is provided for. Vicat, ad verb. In the common law a distinction is made between a contract and the security. The contract may be good and the security void. The contract may be divisible, and the security entire and indivisible. 2 Burr, 1082. The securities or cautions judicially required of the defendant, are, judicio sisti, to attend and appear during the pendency of the suit; de rato, to confirm the acts of his attorney or proctor; judicium solvi, to pay the sum adjudged against him. Coop. Just. 647; Hall's Admiralty Practice, 12; 2 Brown, Civ. Law, 356.

CAUTION, TURATORY, Scotch law. Juratory caution is that which a suspender swears is the best he can offer in order to obtain a suspension. Where the suspender cannot, from his low or suspected circumstances, procure unquestionable security, juratory caution is admitted. Ersk. Pr. L. Scot. 4, 3, 6.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
``Such lack of significance suggests that the practice of restorative cautioning had little effect.
The Government, then, should not be applauded then for suspending cautioning for knife offences in cities such as Birmingham.
In all cautioning decisions, the victim's views are taken into account.
"Let's stop all this cautioning business - don't get me wrong, I don't want to see people unnecessarily getting criminal records, but when they are genuinely guilty of an offence and one the public would consider to be serious, they should be brought to court.
Cllr Clein said: "I would suggest cautioning for sexual offences will not improve the confidence of the public in the way police and the police authority are working.
However, Mr Shepherd said: "There is no transparency in cautioning. It means suspects who have admitted serious crimes are not being brought before a public tribunal and are not being punished.
He said: "The guidance about cautioning is actually very clear.