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Encyclopedia > Mandamus

A writ of mandamus or simply mandamus, which means "we order" in Latin, is the name of one of the prerogative writs and is a court order directing someone, most frequently a government official, to perform a specified act. Latin is the language that was originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... In English law, the prerogative writs are a class of writs originally available only to the Crown, but which were later made available to the kings subjects through the courts. ...


The act must be one that is "ministerial" rather than "discretionary," which means it must not involve any qualitative judgment to tell whether it has been done (or done right or completely): Signing a document or handing one over to someone is ministerial; providing some service is discretionary, whether it is painting a portrait or removing a gall bladder or cutting hair or typing a letter. (In that sense, "ministerial" has a "binary" meaning—the act is either done or not done.)

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Mandamus in the United States

In general

In the administrative law context in the United States, the requirement that mandamus can be used only to compel a ministerial act has largely been abandoned. By statute or by judicial expansion of the writ of mandamus in most of the U.S. states, acts of administrative agencies are now subject to judicial review for abuse of discretion. Judicial review of agencies of the United States federal government for abuse of discretion is authorized by the Administrative Procedure Act. Administrative law is the body of law that arises from the activities of administrative agencies of government. ... A U.S. state is any one of the 50 states (four of them use the term commonwealth) which have membership in the federation known as the United States of America (USA or U.S.). The separate state governments and the U.S. federal government share sovereignty, in that an... Federal independent agencies were established through separate statutes passed by Congress. ... Judicial review is the power of a court to review a law or an official act of a government employee or agent; for example, although the basis is different in different countries, as unconstitutional or violating of basic principles of justice. ... An appeal is the act or fact of challenging a judicially cognizable and binding judgment to a higher judicial authority. ... The government of the United States, established by the United States Constitution, is a federal republic of 50 states, a few territories and some protectorates. ... The federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of 1946 governs the way in which administrative agencies of the United States federal government may propose and establish regulations. ...


Federal courts

The power of the Supreme Court of the United States to issue a writ of mandamus was the controversy that led the Court to delve into the much more significant issue of judicial review in the famed case of Marbury v. Madison. In modern practice the Court has effectively abolished the issuance of mandamus and other prerogative writs although it theoretically retains the power to do so. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States to interpret and decide questions of federal law, including... Holding Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond that permitted by the Constitution. ...


In the context of mandamus from a United States Court of Appeals to a United States District Court, the Supreme Court has ruled that the appellate courts have discretion to issue mandamus to control an abuse of discretion by the lower court in unusual circumstances, where there is a compelling reason not to wait for an appeal from a final judgment. This discretion is exercised very sparingly. The United States Courts of Appeals (or circuit courts) are the mid-level appellate courts of the United States federal court system. ... The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. ... This article is about the legal term. ...


The authority of the United States district courts to issue mandamus has been expressly abrogated by Rule 81(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but relief in the nature of mandamus can be had by other remedies provided for in the Rules, where provided by statute, or by use of the District Court's equitable powers. The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. ... The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil procedure in the United States district courts, or more simply, court procedures for civil suits. ...


State courts

In some state-court systems, however, mandamus has evolved into a general procedure for discretionary appeals from nonfinal trial-court decisions.


In some U.S. states, including California, the writ is now called mandate instead of mandamus, and may be issued by any level of the state court system to any lower court or to any government official. It is still common for Californians to bring "taxpayer actions" against public officials for wasting public funds through mismanagement of a government agency, where the relief sought is a writ of mandate compelling the official to stop wasting money and fulfill his duty to protect the public fisc. State nickname: The Golden State Other U.S. States Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Official languages English Area 410,000 km² (3rd)  - Land 404,298 km²  - Water 20,047 km² (4. ... A tax is an involuntary fee paid by individuals or businesses to a government. ...


Other states, including New York, have replaced mandamus (as well as the other prerogative writs) with statutory procedures. In New York, this is known as an Article 78 review after the civil procedure law provision that created the statutory procedure. State nickname: Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York Governor George Pataki Official languages None Area 141,205 km² (27th)  - Land 122,409 km²  - Water 18,795 km² (13. ... Civil procedure is the written set of rules that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a civil action). These rules explain how a lawsuit must be commenced, what kind of service of process is required, the types of pleadings, motions, and...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Writ Of Mandamus - LoveToKnow 1911 (879 words)
Mandamus has always been regarded as an exceptional remedy to supplement the deficiencies of the common law, or defects of justice.
This enactment does not deal with the prerogative mandamus but empowers the king's bench and the chancery divisions to grant an interlocutory mandamus in any pending cause or matter by an order other than the final judgment and even by an order made after the judgment.
The mandamus issued in the action is no longer a writ of mandamus, but a judgment or order having effect equivalent to the writ formerly used.
SPBR Case Law Archive -- Appellate Procedure & Review: Mandamus (1482 words)
Mandamus is a proper remedy to compel employers to reinstate employee when there was no authority to remove the employee; but, mandamus will be denied when a necessary party is not a party to the action nor has yet had an opportunity to act in the matter of the employee's discharge.
Mandamus is a proper remedy to compel reinstatement after coerced resignation when employee's resignation was not a voluntary one and the action of the board in accepting the resignation could reasonably be considered to be the order of removal from which an appeal could be taken pursuant to R.C. State, ex rel.
Writ of mandamus denied as to an employee who was restored to state employment subsequent to a layoff and upon her return was given a different desk, chair and physical tasks than she had before the layoff, when work assignments and internal personal management decisions are the prerogative of the employer.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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