A writ applicable to the case of a defendant against whom a judgment has been recovered, (and who is therefore in danger of execution or perhaps actually in execution,) grounded on some matter of discharge which happened after the judgment, and not upon any matter which might have been pleaded as a defence to the action.
It is a remedial process, which bears solely on the wrongful acts of the opposite party, and not upon the erroneous judgments or acts of the court. It will therefore, where the cause of complaint is a proper subject for a writ of error.
An audita querela is in the nature of an equitable suit, in which the equitable rights of the parties will be considered.
An audita querela is a regular suit, in which the parties may plead, take issue, etc. But the writ must be allowed in open court, and is not, of itself, a supersedeas, which may or may not be granted, in the discretion of the court, according to circumstances.
In modern practice, it is usual to grant the same relief, on motion, which might be obtained by audita querela and in Virginia and South Carolina the summary remedy, by motion, has superseded this ancient remedy. In Pennsylvania this writ it seems, may still be maintained, though relief is more generally obtained on motion.