Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Execution has several meanings in law: - (1) Execution in Civil Process is issued by a

Court of Justice to enforce its judgment, and the Writ of Execution (which is the last stage of a suit) is given to the successful party either to put him in possession of the thing in dispute or to enable him to recover the debt or damages awarded him by such judgment. For this purpose - in the High Court - a writ issues out of the division of the court in which the judgment is recovered, in the name of the sovereign, addressed to the sheriff of the county in which the property is situate or the person against whom the process issued resides, commanding him to give possession of the property or (as the case may be) to levyc, on the person's goods or tenements for the amount recovered in the action; upon receiving this writ, the sheriff issues his warrant to his officers to carry out the same.

The Writs of Execution are as follow: - (1) The Writ of Capias ad Satisfaciendum (to arrest the body), the use of which writ out of regard to the liberty of the subject has been of recent years very muchcurtailed. [Capias.] (2) The Writ of Fieri Facias against the goods and chattels. [Fieri Facias.] (3) The Writ of Elegit against the lands generally of judgment debtor. [Elegit.] (4) The Writ of Habere Facias Possessionem against the particular lands or premises recoverable in the action. (5) In Detinue (which is an action brought for recovery of goods detained) there is a special writ of execution for recovery of the goods themselves, or their value, with damages and costs. By 23 and 24 Vic., c. 38, Writs of Execution on judgments are required to be registered in order to affect lands as against bond fide purchasers for valuable consideration, and no judgment affects lands until such lands shall have been actually delivered in execution by virtue of a Writ of Elegit or other lawful authority, and such Writ of Execution must be registered.

In the County Courts the process, though different in form, is much the same in effect. When the judge at the hearing adjudges a sum of money to be paid by one party to another by instalments or otherwise, and the order for payment is not complied with, execution may issue against the goods of the judgment debtor, and if such debtor has the means to pay at the date of the judgment, or at any time afterwards, and fails to do so, he may, on his ability being established to the satisfaction of the judge, be committed to prison for any period not exceeding forty days, though he may obtain his liberty at any time by paying the sum ordered. Also the execution upon a judgment of one County Court against the debtor within the district of another County Court in England may be effectuated by such latter Court, provided such latter Court have received and duly sealed with its own seal the warrant duly attested of the first County Court to proceed to such execution. Also if a judge of the High Court is satisfied that the debtor has no goods or chattels convenient to satisfy the judgment obtained in the County Court, he may order a Writ of Certiorari to remove the judgment into the High Court for the purposes of execution against his lands or otherwise. Furthermore, by the "Inferior Courts Judgment Extension Act, 1882," the judgment of a County Court in England may be executed in any other part of the United Kingdom by the corresponding Court in such other place, provided a certificate of the judgment be first registered in such other corresponding Court.

2. Execution of Criminals is another and more painful signification of the word. It is performed by the proper legal officer, the sheriff or his deputy. The Common Law mode of execution is by hanging, which until the year 1868 took place in public; but in that year an Act was passed directing that the execution must take place within the walls of theprison, in presence of the sheriff, gaoler, chaplain, and surgeon of the prison, and such other officers of the prison as the sheriff requires or allows. An Act of Parliament of the present reign provides for suspension of execution in the case of a lunatic.

3. Execution nf a Decree. Sometimes from the neglect of parties, or some other cause, it becomes impossible to carry a decree of a Court of Justice into execution without the further decree of the Court upon a bill filed for that purpose. This happened generally where parties having neglected to proceed upon the decree, their rights under it became so embarrassed by subsequent events that it was necessary to have the decree of the Court to ascertain and settle them. Such a Bill might also be brought to carry into execution the judgment of an inferior Court of Equity, if the jurisdiction of that Court was not equal to the purpose, as in the case of a decree in Wales which the defendant avoided by going into England.