Replevin is a type of civil remedy used to recover personal property that has been wrongfully taken or detained. A writ of replevin is an order from a court authorizing the retaking of the wrongfully taken or detained personal property. "To replevy" is to recover goods by a writ of replevin. (Black's Law Dictionary, 10th ed.) People have used, or tried to use, writs of replevin to recover cats, dogs, a pony, a television set, pipes, valves, and fittings, a skidder, a trailer, a backhoe, motor vehicles and, occasionally, themselves.
Depending on the value of the personal property, complaints for writs of replevin are filed in the District Division, the Superior Court or, under very limited circumstances, in the Probate Division.
If the value of the property is $25,000 or less, file in either the District Division or the Superior Court. If the value of the property is greater than $25,000, then file in the Superior Court. Only file in the Probate Division if there is a related case regarding an estate, trust, conservatorship or guardianship. Please note that Small Claims court cannot be used for the return of personal property.
The person applying for a writ of replevin, and in some situations, the person holding the property, must obtain “sufficient securities” in an amount double the value of the property. Securities may include, but are not limited to, bonds, letters of credit, security interests, or cash in a form and amount acceptable to the court.
Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.