habeas corpusˈheɪ bi əs ˈkɔr pəs
habeas corpus, writ of habeas corpus (noun)
a writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge
habeas corpus (noun)
the civil right to obtain a writ of habeas corpus as protection against illegal imprisonment
habeas corpus (Noun)
A writ to bring a person before a court or a judge, most frequently used to ensure that a person's imprisonment, detention, or commitment is legal.
A writ of habeas corpus is a writ that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court. The principle of habeas corpus ensures that a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention—that is, detention lacking sufficient cause or evidence. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to the prisoner's aid. This right originated in the English legal system, and is now available in many nations. It has historically been an important legal instrument safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action. A writ of habeas corpus, also known as the "great writ", is a summons with the force of a court order; it is addressed to the custodian and demands that a prisoner be taken before the court, and that the custodian present proof of authority, allowing the court to determine whether the custodian has lawful authority to detain the prisoner. If the custodian is acting beyond his authority, then the prisoner must be released. Any prisoner, or another person acting on his or her behalf, may petition the court, or a judge, for a writ of habeas corpus. One reason for the writ to be sought by a person other than the prisoner is that the detainee might be held incommunicado. Most civil law jurisdictions provide a similar remedy for those unlawfully detained, but this is not always called "habeas corpus". For example, in some Spanish-speaking nations, the equivalent remedy for unlawful imprisonment is the amparo de libertad.