Legal Dictionary

writ of execution

Legal Definition of writ of execution

See also


  1. Writ of execution includes:

    Writ of seizure and sale, being the most common execution among these 3 writs, can be enforced, where

    • a judgment or order for the payment of money, not being a judgment or order for the payment of money into court

    has not been complied with.

    An example is the judgment debtor's vehicle, where the judgment creditor able to confirm that the judgment debtor is the owner of a vehicle, application can be made for a writ of seizure and sale of his or her vehicle.

    Writ of seizure and sale can also be enforced against the judgment debtor's properties in his or her own residence.

    Where the judgment debtor's properties are subject to prior claim by leasing or financial institution for a great amount, it may not be justified to proceed with writ of seizure and sale as the amount from the realization may not be able to cover the costs, commission fees and expenses for the execution or even the amount charged to the financial institution.

    Writ of possession can be enforced with the leave of the court, where:

    • a judgment or order for the giving of possession of immovable property

    has not been complied with.

    Writ of delivery is for the recovery of movable property or its assessed value where

    • a judgment or order for the delivery of any movable property or payment of their assessed value to the judgment creditor

    has not been complied with.

    Writ of delivery may include provision for enforcing the payment of any money adjudged or ordered to be paid by the judgment or order which is to be enforced by the writ.

Definition of writ of execution

Further reading

A writ of execution is a court order granted in an attempt to satisfy a monetary judgment obtained by a plaintiff. When issuing a writ of execution, a court typically will order a sheriff or other similar official to take possession of property owned by a judgment debtor. Such property will often then be sold in a sheriff's sale and the proceeds remunerated to the plaintiff in partial or full satisfaction of the judgment. It is generally considered preferable for the sheriff simply to take possession of money from the defendant's bank account. If the judgment debtor owns real property, the judgment creditor can record the execution to "freeze" the title until the execution is satisfied.

Generally, execution is unnecessary for defendants who pay verdicts against themselves voluntarily. However, some defendants ignore judgments against them, and thereby force plaintiffs to employ writs of execution to actually enforce judgments.

In the United States, not all assets are subject to execution. For example, Social Security income that resides in a bank account is exempt from a levy on a debtor's bank account. Many states also protect an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) from execution as well as unemployment income, but the amount that is exempt may be limited.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     landed property
2.     lex fori
3.     status quo
4.     ownership
5.     lex loci delicti commissi
6.     lex situs
7.     sodomy
8.     lex causae
9.     unjustified
10.     AORO