ORIGINAL WRIT, practice, English law. A mandatory letter issued in the king's name, sealed with his great seal, and directed to the sheriff of the county wherein the injury was committed or supposed to have been done, requiring him to command the wrongdoer or party accused, either to do justice to the complainant, or else to appear in court and answer the accusation against him. This writ is deemed necessary to give the courts of law jurisdiction.

2. In modern practice, however, it is often dispensed with, by recourse, as usual, to fiction, and a proceeding by bill is substituted. In this country, our courts derive their jurisdiction from the constitution and require no original writ to confer it. Improperly speaking, the first writ which is issued in a case, is sometimes called an original writ, but it is not so in the English sense of the word. Vide 3 Bl. Com. 273 Walk. Intr. to Amer. Law, 514.