Original Writs – initial writs used to commence an action – usually the Summons

This page is a subsection from the All Types of Writs section.

Note: Original Writs are usually the “Summons” – see Fed. Rules Civ. Proc. Rule 4.

Original Writ:

    “(16c) A writ commencing an action & directing the defendant to appear & answer.  In the United States, this writ has been largely superseded by the summons.  At common law, this type of writ was a mandatory letter issuing from the court of chancery under the great seal, & in the king’s name, directed to the sheriff of the county where the injury was alleged to have occurred, containing a summary statement of the cause of complaint, & requiring the sheriff in most cases to command the defendant to satisfy the claim or else appear in court to account for not satisfying it. – Sometimes shortened to original.   See SUMMONS (Rule 4 Fed. Rules Civ. Proc.).”

Concurrent Writ:

(1817) A duplicate of an original writ (esp. a summons), issued either at the same time as the original writ or at any time while the original writ is valid.”

Counterpart Writ:

(1841) A copy of an original writ, to be sent to a court in another county where the defendant is located.”

Peremptory Writ:

(18c) At common law, an original writ issued when the plaintiff seeks only general damages, as in an action for trespass. The writ, which is issued only after the plaintiff gives security for costs, directs the sheriff to have the defendant appear in court.”


[1]:  All definitions throughout this page from Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6