Freedom of the city

Definition of Freedom of the city

In English law, this phrase signifies immunity from county jurisdiction, and the privilege of corporate taxation and self-government held under a charter from the crown. This freedom is enjoyed of right, subject to the provision of the charter, and is often conferred as an honor on princes and other distinguished individuals. The freedom of a city carries the parliamentary franchise. The rights and privileges possessed by the burgesses or freemen of a municipal corporation under the old English law; now of little importance, and conferred chiefly as a mark of honor.

The phrase has no place in American law, and as frequently used in addresses of welcome made to organizations visiting an American city, particularly by mayors, has no meaning whatever except as an expression of good will.

That's the definition of Freedom of the city in Black's Law Dictionary 6th Edition. Courtesy of