Original Writ Law and Legal Definition

Historically, this was the writ commencing an action and directing the defendant to appear and answer. Now this form of writ has been replaced by the summons.

At common law, this type of writ was a mandatory letter issuing from the court of chancery under the great seal, and in the king's name, directed to the sheriff of the county where the injury was alleged to have occurred, containing a summary statement of the cause of complaint, and requiring the sheriff in most cases to command the defendant to satisfy the claim or else appear in court to account for not satisfying it.