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Definitions of authority

(also: precedent) an important judicial decision or accepted source of information that can be used to help support a case

Mr Popkins referred to a number of respected authorities during his legal arguments.

a body with administrative powers and the legal power to enforce the law; a group of people with official responsibility for something

The Park Authority is responsible for maintaining the national parks.

the official or legal power given to a person or an institution to do something

The agent had no authority to take out a loan on behalf of the company.