Blank check

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As a blank check (adj. Short blank ., V ital .: bianco , white, blank, blank) is known colloquially :

  1. (in the original sense :) the check form signed by the account holder or authorized representative , which otherwise does not contain any further entries (especially no amount). With such a blank check it is possible for the owner of this form to withdraw any amount from the account of the account holder. However, overdraft limits can set limits in terms of amount.
  2. (in a broader sense :) a power of attorney in whatever form or permission given to a third party to act for the principal without any restrictions. Such a “blank check” is, for example, the general power of attorney issued by the principal to another person. This authorized person can “switch and exercise” the power of attorney as long as the power of attorney is not legally revoked. For example, a client's power of attorney to his lawyer to act for him on a specific matter is
    not a blank check . These powers of attorney are usually not formulated as “general powers of attorney”, but only cover the specific freedom of choice required.
  3. (in the figurative sense :) an authorization or other regulation which grants a person or an institution very extensive freedom of action and provides no or only little supervision and control over the corresponding actions. (Example: blank check / blank power of attorney to Austria-Hungary 1914, see below)


The term “blank check” was first mentioned in 1908 when Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed . Since Germany had concluded the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and together with Italy in 1882, Kaiser Wilhelm II and the German Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow granted Austria-Hungary the blank check.

However, the later blanket authorization that Kaiser Wilhelm II gave Austria-Hungary at the beginning of the July crisis of 1914 had a much greater scope : As part of the Hoyos mission , he repeated the German Reich's undivided loyalty to Austria-Hungary, as he had already done in 1908 did in the Bosnian annexation crisis ("blank check"). This was later confirmed by the German Chancellor von Bethmann Hollweg .

See also