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What Is a Writ of Error?

In a process of litigation, it is possible for the parties involved to be unsatisfied with the outcome of the court trial. When this occurs, a litigant has the right to challenge the judgment rendered on the case through a process of appeal. When the case has been reviewed and it has been found that an error of fact has occurred, the court will issue a document to correct such errors. This legal document is referred to as a writ of error.


Also known as an error coram nobis or error coram vobis, a writ of error is produced when it is believed that certain errors of fact have been found that may have prejudiced the judgment initially rendered on the case. Before such a writ of error can be issued by a court of law, the judge must provide that a material fact integral to the judgment of the case was erroneous, that the defendant could not reasonably come forward with such errors at the time of the proceedings, and that the defendant has suffered as a result of such errors.


A writ of error addresses issues of fact and not points of law. For example, a piece of evidence that would prove the complete innocence of the defendant was withheld due to logical reasons. A writ of error can then be issued in order for a lower court to reopen the case and consider what evidence has been brought into examination. However, an appeals court reviews the case for appeal rather than re-examination when a point of law is being challenged rather than a material fact.

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