Judicial Sale

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Judicial Sale

The transfer of title to and possession of a debtor's property to another in exchange for a price determined in proceedings that are conducted under a judgment or an order of court by an officer duly appointed and commissioned to do so.

A judicial sale is a method plaintiffs use to enforce a judgment. When a plaintiff wins a judgment against a defendant in civil court, and the defendant does not pay the judgment, the plaintiff can force the sale of the defendant's property until the judgment is satisfied. The plaintiff forces the sale by filing in court for an execution on property, which is a seizure of property by the court for the purpose of selling the property.

Judicial sales are regulated by state and federal statute. In Alabama, for example, the judicial sale process begins when a judgment remains unpaid ninety days after it is placed on the record by the court (Ala. Code § 6-9-21 [1995]). The plaintiff must bring an order mandating payment of the judgment and court costs to the county where the defendant's property is located. This order is called a writ of execution, and it is issued by the trial court. A writ of execution identifies the amount of the judgment, interest, and court costs that the defendant owes the plaintiff.

Generally, a writ of execution may be levied against any real property or Personal Property of the defendant. The plaintiff must file the writ of execution with the probate judge in the county where the defendant's property is located. The plaintiff must also give notice of the execution on the defendant's property to the defendant. Once the writ is filed, the plaintiff has a lien on the defendant's property. A lien gives the plaintiff a legally recognized ownership interest in the defendant's property, equal to the amount of the judgment.

Once the plaintiff has obtained a lien on the defendant's property, the judicial sale can begin. The process typically must be carried out within a fixed time period, such as within ninety days after the writ of execution is issued. The sheriff's office in the county where the property is located is responsible for levying, or seizing, the property and for conducting the sale of the property.

The sale of real property may take place at the courthouse. If the property that the plaintiff seeks is perishable and in danger of waste or decay, the sale may occur at some other time and place.

A defendant can avoid a judicial sale after a writ of execution is issued, by paying the judgment, interest, and court costs in full. If the defendant appeals the judgment to a higher court, the defendant may postpone the judicial sale by posting a bond to secure the debt during the appeals process. If the defendant does not plan to appeal, and the levying officer is about to seize personal property, the defendant may be able to keep the property until the day of sale if the defendant gives the levying officer a bond made payable to the plaintiff for a certain amount, such as twice the amount in the writ of execution.

Generally, judicial sales are the last resort for a plaintiff trying to collect on a judgment. A defendant who owns or possesses valuable property is usually able to satisfy a judgment in civil court by leveraging the property, or using it to borrow money to pay the judgment.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

judicial sale

n. a sale of goods by an official (keeper, trustee or sheriff) appointed by the court and ordered by a court, usually to satisfy a judgment or implement another order of the court. Such sales require public notice of time, place and a description of the goods to be sold. (See: sheriff's sale)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

JUDICIAL SALE. A sale by authority of some competent tribunal, by an officer authorized by law for the purpose.
     2. The officer who makes the sale, conveys all the rights of the defendant, or other person against whom the process has been issued, in the property sold. Under such a sale there is no warranty, either express or implied, of the thing sold. 9 Wheat. 616. When real estate is sold by the sheriff or marshal, the sale is subject to the confirmation of the court, or it may be set aside. See 4 Wash. C. C. R. 45 Wallace, 128; 4 Wash. C. C. R. 322.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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That in turn could raise questions about property governed by those orders--including the finality of judicial sales, the enforceability of pending orders of possession, and the clarity of title to third-party purchasers.
Various methods can be used for the "judicial sale," such as by tender, by advertisement, or by a realtor, at the discretion of the court and preference of the mortgagee.
(6) The Fifth Circuit held that a federal district court sitting in admiralty has discretion to reopen and modify its decrees and judgments, and if necessary, to set aside a judicial sale of a vessel on the ground of fraud.
But in concluding that all the requirements of a judicial sale had been complied with, the Court of Appeal was paying insufficient regard to the judge's findings of fact ...and other credible evidence.
The decision in the Aliza Glacial settled the potential uncertainty in Australian law relating to the consequences for a purchaser of a judicial sale by an Admiralty Court.
It will be noted that the protected shipowner must either be a buyer of the vessel pursuant to the judicial sale. Otherwise, in the usual circumstances of sale and purchase agreements, the buyer must follow the statutory steps provided for in sub-article 92/b.
(2) The purchaser of residential property at a judicial sale must pay a sliding fee calculated at $1 for each $1,000 or fraction of the amount paid by the purchaser to defray municipalities' costs.
However the company's main creditor, Dan Bunkering, has now made an application for the judicial sale of the vessel.
The court stated that although the sale at foreclosure will not ordinarily be disturbed where it was fairly made and free from fraud, a judicial sale may be set aside when someone obtained an undue advantage or where a party was unfairly dealt with.
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According to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal of Louisiana, when a property is foreclosed upon, the value of the judicial sale determines the credit the borrower may receive.