An archaic term, used in common law andcivil lawcountries, to designate an individual who holds and conceals stolen goods for thieves. Currently an independent individual appointed by a court to handle money or property during a lawsuit.
Courts appoint receivers to take custody, manage, and preserve money or property that is subject to litigation so that when the final judgment is rendered, the property remains available to accomplish what has been ordered. The power to appoint a receiver is rarely utilized by the courts, and only upon a showing that it is required to preserve the property. Receivership cannot properly be used to coerce a party or to gain control of a business from someone who is capable of managing it. Receivership is an extraordinary remedy, designed to benefit everyone involved. It is, however, a harsh remedy, since it involves restraining an individual's property, removing it from his control, and causing additional legal expenses.
The appointment of a receiver, which is a provisional remedy to be exercised while litigation is pending, is ordinarily prescribed by statute, as are a receiver's powers. Ordinarily a receiver can be appointed only after a lawsuit is initiated.
According to the statutes of different states, receivers have been appointed in actions for divorce, the removal of a trustee, or the foreclosure of a mortgage and in proceedings for the dissolution of a corporation, for an accounting of partnership money, or for a creditor's suit. The appointment of a receiver is justified when property in dispute is allowed to deteriorate to the extent where emergency repairs are necessary, and where there is good reason to suspect that the property is going to be sold, wasted, taken out of state, misused, or destroyed if the court does not act to preserve it. A receiver can also be appointed in situations where it appears that no one with a legal right to manage certain property is present, or no mentally competent adult is entitled to hold it. A receiver is sometimes appointed to preserve property during litigation between two parties who appear to have an equal right to use the property but who are unwilling to acknowledge each other's interest.
A judge can appoint a receiver following the filing of an application, or petition, with the court. In certain instances, all those who are interested in a case join together, and in the event that the court has jurisdiction over the property and the parties, an appointment can proceed upon their consent.
An application for the appointment of a receiver is often submitted by a creditor. It might be fraud or collusion for a debtor to have a friendly creditor nominate an individual the debtor chooses. A receiver generally should not be appointed unless notice is served on all interested parties and a hearing is conducted where a judge determines the merits of the case. On good evidence that an emergency exists, however, a judge can grant the petition for a receivership and hold a hearing as soon as possible thereafter.
A receiver assumes control of all the property subject to the receivership but does not take title to the property and cannot exercise control over property outside the territorial authority of the court. Any property that has already been transferred in a fraudulent sale designed to cheat creditors is beyond the reach of the receiver; however, the receiver has the power to initiate a lawsuit, requesting that the court set aside the transfer. Any rights, such as liens or mortgages, that others have in the property remain valid. Anyone in possession of property listed in the receivership order can be compelled to turn it over to the receiver. A refusal to comply, or interference with the receivership, is punishable as a contempt of court.
A receiver does not represent the individual whose property is being administered, since the receiver is an officer of the court and is responsible to the court for protecting the interests of all opposing parties fairly. Where it is not clear how the receiver must perform his or her duty, he or she may properly apply to the court for instructions. He or she can be removed and held financially liable for failure to obey orders of the court, for neglect of duties, or for abuse of authority. The receiver must exercise judgment in fulfilling the duties, and her decisions must be reasonable. The receiver might be required to post a bond to ensure faithful performance of the duties and is required to account to the court at regular intervals for all the property entrusted to her during, and at the termination of, the appointment.
A receiver has a right to be compensated for services and to be reimbursed for costs or traveling expenses. In cases where it is necessary for the receiver to hire an attorney, counsel fees are allowed. To obtain compensation, the receiver submits an itemized report of services to the court. The amount of payment depends upon the extent and value of the property, the difficulties encountered, and the time spent, as well as upon the receiver's skill, experience, and diligence and the success of his efforts. The time and manner of payment are, for the most part, left to the discretion of the court; unless authorized by the court, it is illegal for the receiver to take payment money out of the property being managed.
re·ceiv·er / riˈsēvər/ • n. 1. the part of a telephone apparatus contained in the earpiece, in which electrical signals are converted into sounds. ∎ a complete telephone handset: he picked up the receiver. ∎ a piece of radio or television apparatus that detects broadcast signals and converts them into visible or audible form: a satellite receiver.2. a person who gets or accepts something that has been sent or given to them: the receiver of a gift. ∎ (in tennis and similar games) the player to whom the ball is served to begin play. ∎ Football a player who catches a pass or a kick. ∎ a person who buys or accepts stolen goods in the knowledge that they have been stolen.3. a person or company appointed by a court to manage the financial affairs of a business or person that has gone bankrupt: the company is in the hands of the receivers.4. Chem. a container for collecting the products of distillation, chromatography, or other process.5. the part of a firearm that houses the action and to which the barrel and other parts are attached.