A fieri facias, usually abbreviated fi. fa. (Latin for that you cause to be made) is a writ of execution after judgment obtained in a legal action for debt or damages. The term is used in English law for such a writ issued in the High Court. Some jurisdictions in the United States also employ this writ, such as the Commonwealth of Virginia.
As of March 2008[update] fi. fa. can be sought on judgment debts in excess of £600. Whilst fi. fa. can be used to enforce judgments obtained in the county court, judgment debts of less than £5,000 are usually enforced by way of a warrant of execution.
Hong Kong statute (High Court Ordinance (Cap 4) s 21D(1)) provides that money and banknotes, Government stock, bonds and other securities for money are amenable to attachment and sale though fieri facias. But with reference to the English case Alleyne v Darcy (1855) 5 I Ch R 56, securities for money do not include life insurance policies.
This writ was once so common that fieri facias became a slang term for a sheriff, with a pun on the "fiery [ruddy] face" of habitual drunkenness, or for anyone with a ruddy complexion.(Abraham Cowley's Poem Drinking - "By's Drunken fiery face no less")
Under U.S. law a judgment creditor could file a fi. fa. with the land records of the locality in which the debtor is believed to own real property. Even though the sheriff may not actually foreclose on the property, the recorded fi. fa. will act as an encumbrance on the title of the property, which can prevent the property from being sold or refinanced without satisfying the related judgment.
In England and Wales, the writ of fieri facias, except for writs of fieri facias de bonis ecclesiasticis, will be renamed a writ of control when s62(4) of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 comes into force. Such date has yet to be announced.
- Henry C. Black, Black's Law Dictionary, rev. 4th ed. 1968.
- E.g., Va. Code § 8.01-466.
- E.g., Henry C. Black, Black's Law Dictionary, rev. 4th ed. 1968.
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