assistance, writ of
- General search warrant used by the British in the American colonies.The warrants authorized customhouse officers, with the assistance of a sheriff, to search any house or ship for smuggled goods, without requiring them to specify the place or the goods. The legality of the writs was challenged by the colonists in the 1760s, and they became a major grievance in the years leading up to the American Revolution. See also James Otis.
* * *▪ British-American colonial historyin English and American colonial history, a general search warrant issued by superior provincial courts to assist the British government in enforcing trade and navigation laws. Such warrants authorized customhouse officers (with the assistance of a sheriff, justice of the peace, or constable) to search any house for smuggled goods without specifying either the house or the goods. In common use since the reign of Charles II, the writs did not arouse controversy until a renewal attempt was made in 1761. Despite an eloquent attack on their constitutionality by James Otis (Otis, James), representing Boston merchants, the writs were continued after confirmation of their legality had been received from England in 1762. When similar warrants were expressly reauthorized by the Townshend Acts (1767), they were challenged for five years in every superior court in the 13 colonies and refused outright in 8 of them. Thus, writs of assistance became a major colonial grievance in the pre-Revolutionary period.
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Look at other dictionaries:
assistance, writ of — A court order issued to enforce an existing judgment. Dictionary from West s Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. assistance, writ of A court order issued to enforce an existing judgment … Law dictionary
assistance, writ of — See writ of assistance … Black's law dictionary
assistance writ — See writ of assistance … Ballentine's law dictionary
assistance, writ of — Mandato general de allanamiento que usaban los ingleses en las colonias norteamericanas. La orden autorizaba a los funcionarios de aduana, con apoyo de un alguacil, para registrar cualquier residenciao barco en busca de artículos de contrabando,… … Enciclopedia Universal
writ of assistance — see writ Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. writ of assistance n … Law dictionary
writ — A written judicial order to perform a specified act, or giving authority to have it done, as in a writ of mandamus or certiorari, or as in an original writ for instituting an action at common law. A written court order or a judicial process,… … Black's law dictionary
writ — / rit/ n [Old English, something written] 1: a letter that was issued in the name of the English monarch from Anglo Saxon times to declare his grants, wishes, and commands 2: an order or mandatory process in writing issued in the name of the… … Law dictionary
writ of possession — Writ of execution employed to enforce a judgment to recover the possession of land. It commands the sheriff to enter the land and give possession of it to the person entitled under the judgment. For a distinction between the writ of possession… … Black's law dictionary
writ of assistance — n. a writ issued by a court of equity, ordering the transfer of real property to the rightful owner … English World dictionary
assistance — I noun accommodation, adiumentum, adjuvancy, advocacy, aid, auxilium, benefit, benevolence, championship, cooperation, furtherance, help, helpfulness, intercession, participation, reinforcement, subsidy, succor, support associated concepts: able… … Law dictionary