Scire Facias Law & Legal Definition


Scire Facias is a judicial writ requiring a defendant to appear in court and prove why an existing judgment should not be executed against him or her. In modern practice, the writ of scire facias is used in the enforcement and collection of judgments. When a plaintiff obtains a money judgment against a defendant, the court order to pay the judgment may expire after a certain number of years if the judgment remains unpaid. State and federal laws allow the plaintiff to make a motion to the court before the time period expires to continue the effect of the court's order. If the plaintiff fails to make such a motion, he/she may file a writ of scire facias to revive the judgment. The defendant would then have to appear before the court and explain why the judgment should not be revived.

The following is a caselaw defining the term :

“Scire facias is a judicial writ, founded upon a record, and when brought to enforce the payment of money, it must be for a specific sum, or perhaps, in addition, interest or exchange, as an incident to the debt." Busch v. Humphrey, 261 Ill. App. 467, 468 (Ill. App. Ct. 1931)