distringas (di-string-gas), n. [Law Latin “you are to distrain”]

1. A writ ordering a sheriff to distrain a defendant’s property to compel the defendant to perform an obligation, such as appearing in court or giving up a chattel to a plaintiff awarded judgment in a detinue action.

2. A writ ordering the sheriff to seize jurors’ goods to compel them to appear for jury service.

3. An equitable process of execution against a corporation that has refused to obey a summons. [Cases: Execution 15. C.J.S. Executions § 18.]

4. Hist. An order, issued initially from the Court of Exchequer, then the Court of Chancery, and finally the High Court of Justice, for someone interested in purchasing Bank of England stock, temporarily restraining the bank officers from transferring the stock or paying a dividend on it. • This proceeding was used to prevent fraudulent dealing by a trustee or other stockholder. The relief was only temporary, and if the bank received a request from the stockholder to permit a stock deal, the bank had to warn the distringing party to promptly obtain a restraining order or a writ of injunction, or else the stock deal would go through.

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