What is a Writ of Mandamus?
A writ of mandamus is a court order issued by a court from a superior jurisdiction which compels an individual to execute a duty that he or she is legally bound to complete. A writ of mandamus can also be applied to force a lower court to complete an assigned which is given by law.
A writ of mandamus is hardly ever used, because it must be first shown that there is no other possible remedy or solution available and that an individual is suffering an injustice as a consequence of the failure or inability to complete a required duty that is legally bound. A writ of mandamus can potentially be very disruptive and because of that reason, most judges are extremely reluctant to grant these writs unless they are absolutely necessary.
In certain instances, a writ of mandamus can order an individual to complete a specific task, while in other situations the writ may order for an activity to be stopped.
For example, if two people wanted to get married but they were refused a marriage license by a clerk despite even though there were no legal barriers that should stop the marriage, the couple could file for the writ of mandamus in order to compel the clerk to issue the license. On the other hand, a person could file for a writ of mandamus to ensure that a court would not try to pursue a given case which was outside its jurisdiction.
When a writ of mandamus is forced on a court, the writ must be from a higher court that has the authority over the lower one. In circumstances where the highest court seems to be neglecting its legal obligations or performing tasks that are outside its authority, people may potentially resort to other methods to compel the court. The court or person subjected to the writ of mandamus can try to oppose it if the argument can be made that the writ of mandamus is inappropriate to the situation.
A writ of mandamus can be used only if there is a strong legal duty that is not being met. A writ of mandamus cannot be used for other things, such as to compel a person to do something that she or he is not legally obligated with his or her position. Similarly, if there are other remedies that can be pursued, those options must be considered before a writ of mandamus is granted.
In order to file for a writ of mandamus, a lawyer may be very beneficial. A lawyer can look over the situation and figure out whether or not a writ of mandamus is an appropriate remedy, and then can draft the writ of mandamus so that it will be rapidly approved by the court.