What Is A Receiver?

Pacific Independent Co. v. Workman’s Compensation Appeals Bd., 258 258 Cal. App. 2d 35, 65 Cal. Rptr. 429 (968): defines a receiver as:

“A receiver is a ministerial officer, agent, creature, hand, or arm of, and a temporary occupant and caretaker of the property for the court, and he represents the court appointing him, and he is the medium through with the court acts.”

In addition, based on the particular task that a receiver has been charged with, many other names are used to describe receivers, as follows:

  • Pendent lite receiver: literally, a judicial officer assigned to preserve property pending the completion of litigation
  • Statutory receiver: one appointed by the court under specific statutory authority, rather than under the grant of authority found in the phrase “general usages of equity”
  • Provisional receiver: used interchangeably with “pendent lite” receiver
  • Ancillary receiver: one appointed to assist another, principal receiver in a case
  • Interim receiver: a person typically appointed for a specific period of time, pending a hearing on whether a permanent receiver should be appointed
  • Custodial receiver: a term that may be used to describe a receiver who merely holds property for the court, unlike a receiver who may be instructed to operate a company, for example
  • Special receiver: usually describing a receiver instructed to take possession of less than all assets of a person or business, sometimes called a “special master”
  • Sequestration receiver: a receiver instructed to hold property until the profits from all that property have paid the underlying debt or charge
  • Operating receiver: a receiver tasked with continuing the business operations of an entity
  • Friendly receiver: used to connote a receiver appointed by agreement of the parties before the court

Regardless of the name used, every receiver’s duties and responsibilities are expressly set by the courts, principally in its appointing order. These numerous names reflect the breadth of the tasks judges entrust to receivers in conducting the court’s business.

A receiver is a neutral fiduciary appointed by the court, both state and federal, to take control and possession of all forms of assets involved in contentious litigation for the purpose of preserving and maintaining the assets pending the conclusion of the litigation, or to effect the sale of the assets to realize cash and to hold the same pending further court order.

The term “receivership” is the legal name given to a situation where a court appoints an impartial person (the receiver) to take possession of certain specified property to prevent deterioration, dissipation, loss or other detriment to the party requesting the appointment of a receiver, pending the outcome of the litigation (pendent lite).1

Back To Top