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One of various kinds of writs that prompts some sort of action. The word comes from the Latin word praecipio, meaning “I command (or order) [this],” and it often appears in the term “writ of praecipe.”
In the US, praecipes are writs that have one of the following functions:

  1. Commanding a defendant to perform an act or to demonstrate why he or she should not perform that act.
  2. Requesting that the court perform some action, such as entering a judgment or setting the date for a trial, and that the clerk of the court issue a writ therefor.

The Latin term “praecipe” also appears in a number of other legal terms, such as praecipe in capite, praecipe quod faciat, praecipe quod permittat, and praecipe quod reddat.

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]