Writ of Execution – directs officers to enforce a judgment, often, but not always, by seizing & selling the judgment debtor’s property

Writ of Execution:

n. (14c.) l. The act of carrying out or putting into effect (as a court order or a securities transaction) <execution of the court’s decree> <execution of the stoploss order>. 2. Validation of a written instrument, such as a contract or will, by fulfilling the necessary legal requirements <delivery of the goods completed the contract’s execution>. 3. Judicial enforcement of a money judgment, usually by seizing & selling the judgment debtor’s property <even if the plaintiff receives a judgment against the foreign debtor, execution is unlikely>. – Also termed (in Scots law) diligence. 4. A court order directing a sheriff or other officer to enforce a judgment, usually by seizing & selling the judgment debtor’s property <the court issued the execution authorizing seizure of the car>. – Also termed execution writ; writ of execution; execution of judgment; judgment execution; general execution; fieri facias. [1]

     Excerpt from Gleason L. Archer’s Law Office and Court Procedure:

    “After judgment has been entered execution will issue, at the request of the party who is entitled thereto, but the time allowed for appeal from the judgment must have expired.  Execution is a writ for the enforcement of a judgment, & is directed to such officers as have authority to make service within the jurisdiction. Execution ordinarily includes the amount of the debt or damage that has been ascertained to be due, together with costs. Executions are issued upon written order being presented to the clerk of courts by the party desiring it. There is no set form of such request, although some
courts have printed blanks for the use of the public.” [2]

     Excerpt from Benjamin J. Shipman’s Handbook of Common-Law Pleading:

      “A writ of execution is an authorization to an executive
officer, issued from a court in which a final judgment has been rendered, for the purpose of carrying such judgment into force and effect. It is founded upon the judgment, must generally be conformed to it in every respect, and the plaintiff is always entitled to it to obtain a satisfaction of his claim, unless his right has been suspended by proceedings in the nature of an appeal or by his own agreement. [3]

  • Alias Execution: (17c) A second execution issued to enforce a judgment not fully satisfied by the original writ. Cf. alias writ.
  • Body Execution: (1875) A court order requiring an officer to take a named person into custody, usu. to bring the person before the court to pay a debt; CAPIAS.”
  • Close-Jail Execution: (1934) A body execution stating that the person to be arrested should be confined in jail without the privilege of movement about the jailyard.”
  • Dormand Execution: (1826) An execution authorizing an officer to seize and hold property rather than sell it, until further notice.”
  • Junior Execution: (1850) An execution that is subordinate to another execution issued from an earlier judgment against the same debtor.”
  • Malicious Execution: (1855) An abuse of process by which a person, maliciously and without reasonable cause, issues an execution against the property of a judgment debtor.”
  • Special Execution: (17c) An execution authorizing a judgment to be satisfied from specified property.”
  • Speedy Execution: (16c) An execution issuing quickly (esp. by judges at nisi prius) after a trial.”


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

[2]: Gleason L. Archer, Law Office and Court Procedure 290

[3]: Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of Common-Law
Pleading 526, at 50 (Henry Winthrop Ballantine ed., 3d ed.