Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Supersedeas Definition:

An application to a court to stay proceedings; most frequently, to stay enforcement or collection proceedings upon a judgment.

Related Terms: Supersedeas Bond

The term has lent itself to a form of a bond, a supersedeas bond, which is the deposit of a sum of money into court and which then stays enforcement of a judgment pending the resolution of some alleged or outstanding issue related to the proceedings on which judgment is being enforced (see, Legal Definition of Supersedeas Bond).

According to the Corpus Juris Secundum (§83 C.J.S., 1953):

"Supersedeas or, more accurately, a writ of supersedeas is a writ which contains a command to stay some ordinary proceedings at law, and is technically a writ to suspend the execution of a judgment....

"The province of a writ of supersedeas is to prevent an abuse of the process of the Court...."

"It has been said to be a substitute for the writ of audita querela...."

Historically, upon the appeal of a judgment, that judgment was stayed. An application to appeal took the name of writ of error. Consider these words in 1876, of Justice Waite of the United States Supreme Court in Kitchen v Randolph:

"At common law, a writ of error was a supersedeas by implication. To avoid the effect of this rule, the act of 1789 (1 Stat. 85, sect. 23) provided that a writ of error shall be a supersedeas, and stay execution in cases only where the writ of error is served, by a copy thereof being lodged for the adverse party in the clerk's office where the record remains, within ten days, Sundays exclusive, after rendering the judgment or passing the decree complained of; and in cases where a writ of error might be a supersedeas no execution could issue for ten days....

"The stay of proceedings followed as a matter of right from the issue and service of the writ of error, in the manner and within the time prescribed by the act."


  • Kitchen v. Randolph, 93 US 86 (1876)

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