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Fieri Facias

In English law, fieri facias, usually abbreviated fi. fa. (Latin that you cause to be made) is a writ of execution issued in the High Court after judgment obtained in a legal action for debt or damages.

It is addressed to the sheriff or High Court Enforcement Officer, and commands him to make good the amount out of the goods of the person against whom judgment has been obtained.

As of March 2008 fi. fa. can be sought on judgment debts in excess of £600. Whilst fi. fa. can be used to enforce judgments obtained in the County Court, judgment debts of less than £5,000 are usually enforced by way of a warrant of execution.

Hong Kong statute ( High Court Ordinance (Cap 4) s 21D(1)) provides that money and banknotes, Government stock, bonds and other securities for money are amenable to attachment and sale though fieri facias. But with reference to the English case Alleyne v Darcy (1855) 5 I Ch R 56, securities for money do not include life insurance policies.

This writ was once so common that fieri facias became a slang term for a sheriff, with a pun on the "fiery [ruddy] face" of habitual drunkenness, or for anyone with a ruddy complexion.

Typically, a judgment creditor will record a fi. fa. with the land records of the locality in which the debtor is believed to own real property. Even though the sheriff may not actually foreclose on the property, the recorded fi. fa. will act as an encumbrance on the title of the property, which can prevent the property from being sold or refinanced without satisfying the related judgment.

The writ of fieri facias was renamed a writ of control when the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, s.62 came into force.

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