Peremptory Writ Law and Legal Definition

Peremptory writ means a common law document issued against the defendant when the plaintiff seeks only general damages in an action such as that for trespass. Peremptory writ directs the sheriff to assure the defendant’s appearance in court, when the plaintiff gives the sheriff security for the prosecution of the claim. The writ originally included the words "si te fecerit securum," which means "if he shall give you security." Currently, the peremptory writ has been replaced by the summons.

Sometimes, the term peremptory writ also refers to a form of mandamus which requires that the act commanded be done completely. While an alternative writ of mandamus, permits the public official the option of either doing the act commanded or showing legal cause why it need not be done. Before issuing a peremptory writ of mandamus, the official must be given notice of the legal action and an opportunity to defend the action.

Following is an example of a case law which discusses about peremptory writ. In State ex rel. Beck v. Chicago, S. P., M. & O. R. Co., 164 Neb. 60 (Neb. 1957), the court observed that “Two types of writs of mandamus are recognized and defined by the statutes of Nebraska. They are peremptory and alternative. As to the peremptory writ, contains the following: When the right to require the performance of the act is clear, and it is apparent that no valid excuse can be given for not performing it, a peremptory mandamus may be allowed in the first instance. In all other cases, the alternative writ must be first issued. As to the alternative writ, contains the following: The alternative writ must state concisely the facts showing the obligation of the defendant to perform the act, and his omission to perform it, and command him, that immediately upon the receipt of the writ, or at some other specified time, he do the act required to be performed, or show cause before the court whence the writ issued, at a specified time and place, why he has not done so.”