Scire Facias

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Legal Definition and Related Resources of Scire Facias

Meaning of Scire Facias

A judicial writ at common law reviving a judgment and merely a continuation of action leading to execution of the already obtained judgment requiring the defendant to make known reason why execution should not issue .

Scire Facias Alternative Definition

(Lat. that you make known). The name of a writ (and of the whole proceeding) founded on some public record. Its principal use was to revive a judgment on which execution had not issued for a year and a day (see “Revival”), or to enforce some obligation of record, as a recognizance on appeal (24 Pa. St. 69). Scire facias is also used by government as a mode to ascertain and enforce the forfeiture of a corporate charter, where there is a legal existing body capable of acting, but who have abused their power. It cannot, like quo warranto (which is applicable to all cases of forfeiture) , be applied where there is a body corporate de facto only, who take upon themselves to act, but cannot legally exercise their powers. In scire facias to forfeit a corporate charter, the government must be a party to the suit; for the judgment is that the parties be ousted, and the franchises be seized into the hands of the government. 2 Kent, Comm. 313; 10 Barn. & C. 240; Yelv. 190; 5 Mass. 230; 16 Serg. & R. (Pa.) 140; 4 Gill & J. (Md.) 1; 9 gSi & J. (Md.) 365; 4 Gill (Md.) 404. Scire facias is also used to suggest further breaches on a bond with a condition, where a judgment has been obtained for some, but not all, of the breaches, and to recover further installments where a judgment has been obtained for the penalty before all the installments are due. 1 Wm. Saund. 58, note 1; 4 Md. 375. As to the effects of the judgment, and the principle of forfeiture, see “Quo Warranto.” The pleadings in scire facias are peculiar. The writ recites the judgment or other record, and also the suggestions which the plaintiff must make to the court to entitle him to the proceeding by scire facias. The writ, therefore, presents the plaintiff's whole case, and constitutes the declaration, to which the defendant must plead. 1 Blackf. (Ind.) 297. And when the proceeding is used to forfeit a corporate charter, all the causes of forfeiture must be assigned in distinct breaches in the writ. And the defendant must either disclaim the charter, or deny its existence, or deny the facts alleged as breaches, or demur to them. The suggestions in the writ disclosing the foundation of the plaintiff's case must also be traversed if they are to be avoided. The scire fadas is founded partly upon than and partly upon the record. 2 Inst. 470, 679. They are substantive facts, and can be traversed by distinct pleas embracing them alone, just as any other fundamental allegation can be traversed alone. All the pleadings after the writ or declaration are in the ordinary forms. There are no pleadings in scire far das to forfeit a corporate charter to be found in the books, as the proceeding has been seldom used. There is a case in 1 P. Wms. 207, but no pleadings. There is a case also in 9 Gill (Md.) 379, with a synopsis of the pleadings. Perhaps the only other case is in Vermont, and it is without pleadings. A defendant cannot plead more than one plea to a scire facias to forfeit a corporate charter. St. 4 & 5 Anne, c. 16, and St. 9 Anne, c 20, allowing double pleas, do not extend to the crown. 1 Chit. PI. 479; 1 P. Wms. 220. There are various special forms of the writ designated in accordance with the purpose for or the record on which it is brought. The principal are: Scire facias sur mortgage, being a writ pf scire facias issued upon the default of a mortgagor, requiring him to show cause why the mortgage should not be foreclosed. Scire fadas ad diaprobandum debitum, being a writ in use in Pennsylvania, which lies by a defendant in foreign attachment against the plaintiff, in order to enable him, within a year and a day next ensuing the time of payment to the plaintiff in the attachment, to disprove or avoid the debt recovered against him. Act relating to the commencement of actions (section 61) , passed June 13, 1836. Scire facias ad audiendum errores, being a writ which is sued out after the plaintiff in error has assigned his errors. Pitzh. Nat. Brev. 20; Bac. Abr. “Error” (F). Scire facias ad rehabendam terram, being a writ which lay for an execution debtor to recover back his land taken on execution after he has satisfied the debt. Fost. Scire Facias, 58.

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This definition of Scire Facias is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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This entry was last modified: April 22, 2013

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