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Fieri Facias

Fieri Facias, a judicial writ of execution issued on a judgment obtained in an action in the Courts of Justice. It is directed to the sheriff of the county in which the goods and chattels of the person against whom the judgment is given are situate, and is called a Writ of "Fieri Facias," from the words in it whereby the sheriff is commanded "quod fieri facias de bonis," etc. (that he cause to be made of the goods and chattels of such person the debt or sum required). From this writ neither peers nor any other privileged persons are exempt, and it lies also against executors and administrators with regard to the goods of their deceased. The sheriff may not break open any outer door to execute the writ, but must enter peaceably; and he may then break open any inner door in order to take the goods. He cannot execute the writ on a Sunday, or within the precincts of a royal residence. But he may sell the goods and chattels of the party against whom the writ is issued, including even his estate for years (which is a chattel real) or his growing crops (which are in the nature of personalty), till he has raised enough to satisfy the judgment. This, however, is subject to certain restrictions, which the law has deemed it reasonable to impose for the protection of landlords; for, first by 8 Anne, c. 18, the sheriff cannot lawfully sell goods lying upon any premises demised to a tenant, unless the landlord be first paid his rent accrued due before the execution, to the extent of one year's arrears (in case of a weekly tenancy only four weeks' arrears), and, secondly, by 56 George III., c. 50, no sheriff shall carry off, or sell for the purpose of being carried off the premises, any straw, hay, manure, or the like from any lands let to farm in any case where by the covenants or agreements in the lease the carrying off the same is prohibited as between landlord and tenant, but such produce may nevertheless be lawfully sold to any person who will agree in writing to .use and expend the same upon the lands according to the tenants' obligation, and lastly by 14 and 15 Victoria, c. 25, sec. 2, if growing crops are seized and sold on a fieri facias or other writ of execution by the sheriff, they shall still, so long as they remain on the lands (and where there is no other sufficient distress), be liable to be distrained for rent becoming due from the tenant after such seizure and sale. By the Common Law no personal chattel could be taken under this writ that was not in its nature properly capable both of manual seizure and sale, but by 1 and 2 Victoria, c. 110, sec. 12, the sheriff may now upon a fieri facias take any money, bank-notes, bills of exchange, or other securities for money belonging to the party against whom the writ is sued out, and may also sue upon such bills or securities in his own name, paying over the money to be recovered thereon to the creditor. If the sheriff is unable to sell the goods at a reasonable price, he may make his return upon the writ, that they remain in his hands for want of buyers, upon which the party suing out the execution may proceed to take out a writ of venditioni exponas, and under this latter wrrit, called a Writ assistant, the sheriff is bound to sell them for the best price, however inadequate. [Execution.]