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What Is a Writ of Mandamus?

A writ of mandamus is a type of court order issued by a superior court that aims to compel a person to perform a mandatory duty and complete it. The term mandamus is Latin for “we command.” This order can be issued to a public authority, corporation or a lower court to complete an action or cease doing a certain act.

Specifically, a writ of mandamus is sort of a command to perform an administrative action or to refrain from taking a particular action. This has to be done in conjunction with legal rights. For a higher court to order this writ, it must determine the absence of alternative solutions and that a person is experiencing injustice due to the failure of an authority to accomplish his required legal duties. It should be established that the legal duty is not being met.

A writ of mandamus is normally issued to compel an officer or an authority to perform a duty which they are supposed to perform according to the law. Being a remedy at the discretion of the court, the application for such legal document must be done in good faith. The petitioner must also prove to the court that he or she has the legal right to the performance of a certain duty by a government or corporate entity.

On the part of the authority being petitioned, they also have the right to oppose the writ of mandamus in the event they feel that the document is not necessary in their situation or in their position.

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