Municipal officials involved in litigation or threatened litigation will occasionally encounter the charge that the municipality or its officials have engaged in conduct that is “ultra vires.” “Ultra vires” has nothing to do with sunburn or the flu, but it is an important legal concept for officials to understand. In some circumstances, municipal action can be overturned because it is ultra vires. In other cases, the fact that an act is ultra vires can be a defense to municipal liability.
Q. What does “ultra vires” mean?