Scire Facias, in law, a judicial writ founded upon some record, and requiring the person against whom it is brought to show cause why the person bringing it should not have the advantage of such record, or (in the case of a scire facias to repeal letters patent) why the record should not be annulled and vacated. It is so called from the words of the writ (when in Latin, as all writs originally were) to the sheriff: Quod scire facias praefato, etc., and can only issue from the court having the record upon which it is founded. It is most commonly used for the purpose of reviving a judgment after the lapse of a certain time, or on a change of parties, or otherwise to have execution of the judgment, in which cases it is merely a continuation of the original action. It is used more rarely as a method of proceeding against a debtor's bail, when the original debtor has absconded, commanding them to show cause why the plaintiff should not have execution against them for his debt or damages and costs; and also on a recognizance to the commonwealth, as well as to obtain execution against the indorser of an original writ, in case of the avoidance or inability of the plaintiff to pay the costs recovered against him by the defendant.
It also lies where an execution has been returned into court as satisfied by means of a levy, but it afterward appears that the lands levied upon did not belong to the judgment debtor, or the levy was otherwise imperfect or insufficient; and in England it may be obtained by the patron or owner of an advow-son for the purpose of removing a usurper's clerk improperly admitted by the bishop. It is further used as a means of repealing letters patent which have been obtained by fraud or issued improvidently, and in this case it is an original proceeding or action. - The action of scire facias is the proper method of proceeding to ascertain judicially and enforce the forfeiture of a charter by a corporation for default or abuse of power, when such corporation is a legally existing body capable of acting, but which has abused its power; though when the corporation is a body de facto only, and on account of a defect in the charter or for any other reason cannot legally exercise its powers, the proceeding is by quo warranto.