A useful working warrant definition is:
‘Warrants are legal documents issued by courts authorising the police, or other permitted authority, to make an arrest, seize property, conduct a search, or execute a judgment.’
To answer the question ‘what is a warrant?‘ we must look at the different types of police and other warrants.
Warrant Definition 1: Police Arrest Warrant
A definition of a police arrest warrant is a type of arrest warrant, usually issued by a Magistrates Court, and directed to the police for execution of the police warrant.
It authorises the police to arrest and detain an individual, or search and, if appropriate, seize property.
For more information on police arrest warrants, please go to our ‘warrant for arrest‘ page.
Warrant Definition 2: Search Warrant
A search warrant definition is that it is another type of warrant issued by courts, usually by a magistrate but also a higher court Judge.
Search Warrants allow the police, or other authorised officers, to conduct a search of a location or vehicle. They only relate to criminal matters.
Search warrants (also known as police search warrants) and their legal background are explained in more detail on the ‘search warrant‘ page.
Warrant Definition 3: Court Warrant
There are numerous warrant definitions relating to court warrants. For convenience, we refer to court warrants as being warrants issued by Magistrates and other courts. They can be:
- arrest warrants (which can be issued to suspects and/or witnesses)
- search warrants, which are issued by a Magistrate to assist the police in obtaining evidence to support the warrant application
- warrants of commitment issued under s.76 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980. These are used to enforce judgments and can result in a debtor being imprisoned.
If you are interested in finding out more about court warrants go to the ‘Court Warrant‘ page.
Warrant Definition 4: Warrant of Further Detention
A warrant of further detention is a specific court warrant issued by a Magistrates’ Court.
It allows the police to detain a suspect for longer than the usual 24 hours without charge (this period is extended in certain cases), subject to a time limit on detention of 96 hours.
Go to our warrant of further detention page for more.
Claim compensation for an unlawful police warrant
Alternatively, if after considering our warrant definition to answer the question ‘what are warrants?‘ you want to make an actions against the police claim relating to an:
- arrest warrant,
- search warrant,
- court warrant, or
- warrant of further detention,
We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, so you can rest assured that we are independent professionals acting in your best interests.
We are waiting to help you with your police warrant claims.