writ


writ
writ1
/rit/, n.
1. Law.
a. a formal order under seal, issued in the name of a sovereign, government, court, or other competent authority, enjoining the officer or other person to whom it is issued or addressed to do or refrain from some specified act.
b. (in early English law) any formal document in letter form, under seal, and in the sovereign's name.
2. something written; a writing: sacred writ.
[bef. 900; ME, OE; c. ON rit writing, Goth writs letter. See WRITE]
writ2
/rit/, v. Archaic.
a pt. and pp. of write.

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In common law, an order issued in the name of a sovereign or court commanding a person to perform or refrain from performing a specified act.

It was a vital official instrument in Old English law. A plaintiff would commence a suit by choosing the proper form of action and obtaining a writ appropriate to the remedy sought; its issuance forced the defendant to comply or to appear in court. Writs were also constantly in use for financial and political purposes of government. Though the writ no longer governs civil pleading and has lost many of its applications, the extraordinary writs, especially of habeas corpus, mandamus (commanding the performance of a ministerial act), prohibition (commanding an inferior court to stay within its jurisdiction), and certiorari, reflect its historical importance as an instrument of judicial authority.

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law
      in common law, order issued by a court in the name of a sovereign authority requiring the performance of a specific act. The most common modern writs are those, such as the summons, used to initiate an action. Other writs may be used to enforce the judgment of a court ( attachment, delivery) or to require a lower court to furnish certain records (error) or perform a certain act (mandamus).

      Writs can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon (Anglo-Saxon law) kings, who used them primarily to convey grants of land, although they also made some effort to employ them for judicial purposes. Three main types of writ were in use by the early 13th century: charters (charter), normally for grants of land and liberties in perpetuity; letters patent, for grants of limited duration and for commissions to royal officials; and letters close, to convey information or orders to a single person or to a definite group of people (differing from the other two types of writ in that the king's seal authenticated and closed the document).

      Writs began to be used in judicial matters by the Norman kings, who developed set formulas for them. The most important were original writs, for beginning actions; in many instances they served much the same purpose as the modern summons. They were issued to the defendant, requiring that he make amends or else appear in court. Other important writs were those of assistance, for the transference of property, and entry, for the recovery of land from which one had been wrongfully dispossessed.

      The European civil-law system never developed a series of clearly defined writs, although it found other means to accomplish the same ends.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • writ — / rit/ n [Old English, something written] 1: a letter that was issued in the name of the English monarch from Anglo Saxon times to declare his grants, wishes, and commands 2: an order or mandatory process in writing issued in the name of the… …   Law dictionary

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  • writ — Form of written notice or command issued by a Court or other official. Can include writ of summons, writ of subpoena, writ of attachment, writ of habeas corpus, etc. (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) United Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms… …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • writ — Ⅰ. writ [1] ► NOUN 1) a form of written command in the name of a court or other legal authority, directing a person to act or refrain from acting in a specified way. 2) (one s writ) one s power to enforce compliance or submission. ORIGIN Old… …   English terms dictionary

  • writ — writ1 [rit] vt., vi. archaic pt. & pp. of WRITE: now mainly in the phrase writ large, expressed, shown, or done on a larger scale or in a clearer or more emphatic way writ2 [rit] n. [ME < OE < writan: see WRITE] 1. Now Rare something… …   English World dictionary

  • Writ — Writ, obs. 3d pers. sing. pres. of {Write}, for writeth. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Writ — Writ, archaic imp. & p. p. of {Write}. Dryden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Writ —   [rɪt, englisch] das, (s)/ s, ursprünglich ein schriftlicher Befehl des englischen Königs an einen Lehnsmann, heute im angelsächsischen Recht die mit dem Siegel eines Gerichts oder der Krone versehene, an eine Gerichts oder eine Privatperson… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Writ — [ rit] der; [s], s <aus engl. writ »behördlicher Erlass«, verwandt mit altnord. rit u. got. writs> im alten engl. Recht jeder schriftliche Befehl des Königs an einen Lehnträger, dessen Nichtbeachtung als Felonie, d. h. als Treuebruch,… …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • writ — (n.) O.E. writ something written, piece of writing, from the past participle stem of writan (see WRITE (Cf. write)). Used of legal documents or instruments since at least 1121 …   Etymology dictionary


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