Writ of fieri facias – directs a marshal or sheriff to seize & sell a judgment debtor’s property to satisfy a money judgment

Writ of fieri facias:

“[Latin “that you cause to be done”] (15c) A writ of execution that directs a marshal or sheriff to seize and sell a judgment debtor’s property to satisfy a money judgment; EXECUTION (4). – Abbr. fi. fa. Pa. – Also termed execution writ;
writ of execution. Cf. LEVARI FACIAS.”

     Excerpt from John Bouvier, Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (Francis Rawle ed., 8th ed. 1914):

     “It receives its name from the Latin words in the writ (quod fieri facias de bonis et catallis, that you cause to be made of the goods and chattels). It is the form of execution in common use in levying upon the judgment-debtor’s personal property.

     Excerpt from 30 Am. Jur. 2d Executions and Enforcement of Judgments §
14, at 50-51 (1994):

     “The writ of ‘fieri facias’ (commonly called a writ of ‘fi fa’), which commanded literally ‘that you cause to be made,’ was an early common-law means of enforcing payment on a judgment; it was, in effect, an order to the sheriff of the court to enforce a judgment against the debtor by levy, seizure, & sale of his personalty to the extent needed to satisfy a judgment.


“[Latin] (17c.) To be made; to be done. Fieri usually appears as part of the phrase in jieri. See IN FIERI.”

  • fieri facias de bonis ecclesiasticis: “[Latin ‘that you cause to be made of the ecclesiastical goods’] (1827) Hist. A writ of execution – used when the defendant was a beneficed clerk who had no lay fee that commanded the bishop to satisfy the judgment from the ecclesiastical goods & chattels of the defendant within the diocese. This was accomplished by issuing a sequestration to levy the debt out of the defendant’s benefice. This writ was issued after a fieri facias had been returned nulla bona.
  • fieri facias de bonis propriis: “[Latin ‘that you cause to be made of his own goods’] (17c.) Hist. A writ that executes on an executor’s property when a writ fieri facias de bonis testatoris is returned by the sheriff nulla harm or devastavit (a wasting of the testator’s goods by the executor).
  • fieri facias de bonis testatoris: “[Latin ‘that you cause to be made of the testator’s
    goods’] (17c.) Hist. A writ of execution served on an executor for a debt incurred by the testator.
  • fieri feci: “[Latin ‘I have caused to be made’] (17c.) Hist. A sheriff’s return on a fieri facias for which the sheriff has collected, in whole or in part, the sum to be
    levied on. The return is usually expressed by the word satisfied.

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