Writs for Seeking to have Your Property (including cattle) Returned

This page is a subsection from the All Types of Writs section.

Writ of Detinue:

“(17c.) A writ in an action for detinue. See DETINUE on page 49.”[1]

Writ of Deliverance:

“(14c.) 4. Archaic. In a replevin action, a writ ordering the redelivery of goods to the owner. Also see Writ of Deliverance under ‘Writs>release of inmates’”

Writ of Second Deliverance:

(16c.) Hist. A second replevin remedy after the plaintiff has been nonsuited & the distrained property has been returned to the defendant. -Also termed writ of second deliverance.”

    The following excerpt from William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England helps explain historical & legal context for the “Writ of Second Deliverance”:

    “And at the common law, the plaintiff might have brought another replevin, and so in infinitum, to the intolerable vexation of the defendant. Wherefore the statute of Westm. 2, c. 2 restrains the plaintiff, when nonsuited, from suing any fresh replevin, but allows him a judicial writ issuing out of the original record, and called a writ of second deliverance, in order to have the same distress again delivered to him, on giving the like security as before.  And, if the plaintiff be a second time nonsuit, or if the defendant has judgment upon verdict . . . he shall have a writ or return irreplevisable; after which no writ of second deliverance shall be allowed.”[2]

Proprietary Writ:

Hist. A writ by which the ownership of something is sought to be restored, whether lands, goods, or money. Common-law examples were the writs of debt, of detinue, & of account. Cf. conventual writ.”

Ground Writ:

(1822) Hist. A writ issued in a county having venue of an action in order to allow a writ of capias ad satisfaciendum or of fieri facias to be executed in a county where the defendant or the defendant’s property was found.  These two writs could not be executed in a county other than the county having venue of the action until a ground writ & then a testatum writ were first issued.  This requirement was abolished in 1852. Cf. TESTATUM.

Testatum Writ:

[Latin “attested”] (17c.) 1. A writ issued in a county where a defendant or a defendant’s property is located when venue lies in another county.  This writ, when issued after a ground writ, allowed the seizure of the defendant or the defendant’s property in another county.  Also termed writ of testatum fieri facias; writ fi. fa.; testatum bill;.testatum writ; latitat.

    The following excerpt from George Crompton’s Practice Common-Placed: Rules and Cases of Practice in the Courts of King provides historical & legal context for the “Testatum Writ”:

   “But if the defendant had removed into another county, the next process the plaintiff might sue out against him was a testatum bill, directed to the sheriff thereof, which soon gained the name of a latitat, from that word being within it.“[3]

Writ of executione facienda in withernamium:

[Latin] (17c.) Hist. A writ that lay for taking cattle of a person who had taken someone else’s cattle out of the county so that the sheriff could not replevy them.”


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

[2]: 3 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 150 (1767)10

[3]:  1 George Crompton, Practice Common-Placed: Rules and Cases of Practice in the Courts of King ’5 Bench and Common Pleas xxxv (3d ed. 1787)11

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