writ

If you are ever served with a writ, then you better do what it says. A writ is a written document issuing a legal order.

The word writ has been around since before the twelfth century and was first used to describe a written document needed to have a case heard at the royal courts of England during the Middle Ages. Nowadays, the king is most likely no longer involved, but this word still refers to a legal document issued by a court of law. A writ contains a written order instructing someone to do something or to stop doing something. If you ever need to give out a writ, remember that the verb to serve is typically used to describe the issuing of a writ — as in “Tony was served with a writ on Monday.”

Definitions of writ
  1. noun
    (law) a legal document issued by a court or judicial officer
    synonyms: judicial writ
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    types:
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    court order
    a writ issued by a court of law requiring a person to do something or to refrain from doing something
    warrant
    a writ from a court commanding police to perform specified acts
    assize
    an ancient writ issued by a court of assize to the sheriff for the recovery of property
    certiorari, writ of certiorari
    a common law writ issued by a superior court to one of inferior jurisdiction demanding the record of a particular case
    habeas corpus, writ of habeas corpus
    a writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge
    venire facias
    a judicial writ ordering a sheriff to summon people for jury duty
    mandamus, writ of mandamus
    an extraordinary writ commanding an official to perform a ministerial act that the law recognizes as an absolute duty and not a matter for the official's discretion; used only when all other judicial remedies fail
    attachment
    a writ authorizing the seizure of property that may be needed for the payment of a judgment in a judicial proceeding
    fieri facias
    a writ ordering a levy on the belongings of a debtor to satisfy the debt
    scire facias
    a judicial writ based on some record and requiring the party against whom it is brought to show cause why the record should not be enforced or annulled
    sequestration
    a writ that authorizes the seizure of property
    writ of detinue
    a writ ordering the release of goods that have been unlawfully detained
    writ of election
    a writ ordering the holding of an election
    writ of error
    a judicial writ from an appellate court ordering the court of record to produce the records of trial
    writ of prohibition
    a judicial writ from a higher court ordering a lower court not to exercise jurisdiction in a particular case
    writ of right
    a writ ordering that land be restored to its rightful owner
    process, summons
    a writ issued by authority of law; usually compels the defendant's attendance in a civil suit; failure to appear results in a default judgment against the defendant
    subpoena, subpoena ad testificandum
    a writ issued by court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding; disobedience may be punishable as a contempt of court
    subpoena duces tecum
    a writ issued by a court at the request of one of the parties to a suit; it requires a witness to bring to court or to a deposition any relevant documents under the witness's control
    divestiture
    an order to an offending party to rid itself of property; it has the purpose of depriving the defendant of the gains of wrongful behavior
    search warrant
    a warrant authorizing law enforcement officials to search for objects or people involved in the commission of a crime and to produce them in court; the warrant describes the locations where the officials may search
    arrest warrant, bench warrant
    a warrant authorizing law enforcement officials to apprehend an offender and bring that person to court
    death warrant
    a warrant to execute the death sentence
    cachet, lettre de cachet
    a warrant formerly issued by a French king who could warrant imprisonment or death in a signed letter under his seal
    reprieve
    a warrant granting postponement (usually to postpone the execution of the death sentence)
    commutation
    a warrant substituting a lesser punishment for a greater one
    amnesty, pardon
    a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense
    execution, writ of execution
    a routine court order that attempts to enforce the judgment that has been granted to a plaintiff by authorizing a sheriff to carry it out
    gag order
    a court order restricting information or comment by the participants involved in a lawsuit
    garnishment
    a court order to an employer to withhold all or part of an employee's wages and to send the money to the court or to the person who won a lawsuit against the employee
    interdict, interdiction
    a court order prohibiting a party from doing a certain activity
    citation
    a summons that commands the appearance of a party at a proceeding
    monition, process of monition
    a summons issued after the filing of a libel or claim directing all parties concerned to show cause why the judgment asked for should not be granted
    ticket
    a summons issued to an offender (especially to someone who violates a traffic regulation)
    type of:
    instrument, legal document, legal instrument, official document
    (law) a document that states some contractual relationship or grants some right
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