Fieri facias

Fieri facias

Literal Meaning

That you cause to be made.

Explanation & Origin

Origin- A fieri facias, usually abbreviated fi. fa. Latin for that you cause to be made is a writ of execution after judgment obtained in a legal action for debt or damages for the sheriff to levy on goods of the judgment debtor.The term is used in English law for such a writ issued in the High Court.

Explanation- The name of a writ of execution. It is so called because, when writs were in Latin, the words directed to the sheriff were, quod fieri facias de bonis et catallis, etc.; that you cause to be made of the goods and chattels, etc. The foundation of this writ is a judgment for debt or damages, and the party who has recovered such a judgment is generally entitled to it, unless he is delayed by the stay of execution which the law allows in certain cases after the rendition of the judgment, or by proceedings in error.


A judges uses this term when he has to execute his order. 

Case Reference

In the case of  Janakdhari Lal vs Gossain Lal Bhaya Gaywal[1] Lord Hardwicke ruled that the fieri facias could not be treated as void, that although it was irregular, it was sufficient to indemnify the sheriff, so that he might justify in an action of trespass, and that consequently the purchaser under the sheriff gained a good title, notwithstanding the writ might be afterwards set aside. This is an express authority in favour of the view that when a sheriff holds a sale without notice that the defendant in execution was then in custody on a capias ad satisfaciendum, the sale passes a good title to a stranger purchaser. If, therefore, there is no difference between a satisfaction of a judgment in fact by the payment of money and a satisfaction in law by taking the defendant in custody on a capias ad satisfaciendum, it follows that a sale held on the basis of a satisfied judgment when the satisfaction has not been certified to the Court, is not void. The question has also been much debated in the American Courts, and the preponderance of authority there is in favour of the view that a sale under a satisfied judgment is void, even though such satisfaction has not been notified to the Court, and the property has passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser. The leading decisions on the point will be found collected in Kleber on Void Judicial and Execution Sales.

In the case of Moitheensa Rowthan And Seven Ors. vs Apsa Bivi [2] The purchases made by the latter class were held good. It is not quite dear whether their Lordships meant to lay down that stranger purchasers in order to be entitled to protection should make their purchases bond fide or not. Their Lordships refer to a passage in “Bacon’s Abridgment,” which does not seem to lay down any such requisite. The passage is in these terms: If a man recovers damages, and hath execution by fierifacias, and upon the fieri facias the sheriff sells to a stranger a term for years, and after the judgment is reversed, the party shall be restored only to the money for which the term was sold, and not to the term itself, because the sheriff had sold it by the command of the writ of fieri facias.” The ground of the protection according to this passage is that the sale is held in pursuance of an order of court while that order stands good.

In the case of D.D. Italia And Anr. vs The Official Assignee Of Madras[3] High Court also held that Section 53 is not applicable to cases of administration under Sections 108 and 109 and the Court of Appeal said that an order for the administration of the estate of a deceased debtor under Section 125 of the Bankruptcy Act, 1883 (which corresponds to Section 108 of the Presidency Towns Insolvency Act) is not equivalent to a receiving order for the purposes of Section 45 of the Act (which corresponds to Section 53 of the Presidency Towns Insolvency Act) and that a creditor who had proceeded in execution was entitled to retain as against the trustee of the debtor’s estate, the benefit of an execution not completed’ before the date of the administration order. In that case a writ of fierifacias had issued. By Section 26 of the Sale of Goods Act, 1893, it was enacted that a writ of fierifacias should bind the property in the goods of the execution debtor as from the time when the writ was delivered to the sheriff to be executed. Therefore Section 45 of the Act could not apply. The Calcutta High Court, in following on the question of the applicability of Section 53(1) of the Presidency. Towns Insolvency Act, held that an attachment in India only prevents alienation and does not confer any title or create any charge or lien on the property such as attaches in England upon, seizure under the writ of fieri facias. In these circumstances the attaching creditor in India has merely the right of sharing rateably with the other creditors of the estate.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1]  (1910) ILR 37 Cal 107

[2] (1913) ILR 36 Mad 194

[3] (1940) 2 MLJ 979