Writ of Replevin Law & Legal Definition


Replevin is a action or a writ issued to recover an item of personal property wrongfully taken. Replevin, sometimes known as "claim and delivery", is an antiquated legal remedy in which a court requires a defendant to return specific goods to the plaintiff at the beginning of the action. The advantage of a writ (order) of replevin is that it deprives the defendant of the use of the property while the case is awaiting trial, therefore increasing the likelihood of a quick settlement.

The plaintiff in a replevin action must have an absolute right to ownership of the property, and not be entitled to merely a temporary possession of it. The property sought must be of a unique and identifiable character. Therefore, a general amount of money cannot be sought under replevin, but a particular purse with identifable contents therein may be. Almost all states have made replevin an obsolete action, since the states have adopted "one cause of action" for all civil wrongs. Trying all related matters at one time is deemed to be a more efficient and cost-effective method of dispensing justice, rather than having separate hearings and trials on each issue.