Charter Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Charter, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Charter?

It is the name given to articles of incorporation in some states.

History and Meaning of Charter

The term "charter" refers to legal documents that establish a corporation or other organization as a legal entity recognized by the state. The term is derived from the Latin "carta," which means "a paper or document," and has been used for centuries to describe documents that grant specific rights or privileges.

In the United States, a charter is a formal document that outlines the purpose, structure, and governance of a corporation. The charter must be approved by the state and contains important information such as the name of the corporation, the number of shares of stock that can be issued, the names of the initial officers, and the purpose and goals of the corporation.

Examples of Charter

  1. The city of Portland, Maine has a charter that outlines the organization and structure of city government, including the roles of the mayor, city council, and other officials.
  2. A nonprofit organization may have a charter that outlines its mission, goals, and governance structure.
  3. A university may have a charter that outlines the powers and responsibilities of its governing board, as well as the rules governing its faculty and students.

Legal Terms Similar to Charter

  1. Articles of Incorporation - This is another term used to describe the legal document that establishes a corporation as a legal entity.
  2. Bylaws - These are the rules that govern the internal operations of a corporation or other organization.
  3. Operating Agreement - This is a legal document that outlines the structure and governance of a limited liability company (LLC).