Mandamus

Mandamus in the United States

Contents:

An extraordinary writ issued by a court under its equity jurisdiction to require anyone, but most often a public official, to perform a specified official act. Mandamus is an affirmative command calling for an action to occur. When a mandamus is issued against a public official, it cannot compel a discretionary act. Rather, mandamus can only be directed toward an act the official has a clear legal obligation to perform. A command preventing an action from occurring comes in the form of an injunction.

See Also

Equity Jurisdiction (Civil Process) Injunction (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

A mandamus may be directed by a higher court to a lower court to require an action that a party has a legal right to expect. Failure to comply with a command issued through a writ of mandamus constitutes judicial contempt. Mandamus is regarded as a remedy of last resort, and is pursued only under extraordinary circumstances.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Mandamus from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Mandamus Definition

In practice. This is a high prerogative writ, usually issuing out of the highest court of general jurisdiction in a state, in the name of the sovereignty, directed to any natural person, corporation, or inferior court of judicature within its jurisdiction, requiring them to do some particular thing therein specified, and which appertains to their ofl5ce or duty. 3 BI Comm. 110; 4 Bac. Abr. 495; Opinion of Marshall, C, J., 1 Cranch (U. S.) 137, 168. It is a proper remedy to compel the performance of a specific act where the act is ministerial in its character (12 Pet. [U. S 1 524; 34 Pa. St. 293; 26 Ga. 665; 7 Iowa, 186, 390) ; but where the act is of a discretionary (6 How. [U. S.] 92; 11 How. [U. S.l 272; 17 How. [U. S.] 284; 12 Cush. [Mass.] 403; 20 Tex. 60; 10 Cal. 376; 5 Har. [Del] 108; 12 Md. 329; 4 Mich. 187; 5 Ohio St. 528) or judicial’ nature (14 La. Ann. 60; 7 Cal. 130; 18 B. Mon. [Ky.] 423; 7 El. & Bl. 366) , it will lie only to compel action generally (11 Cal. 42; 30 Ala. [N. S.] 49; 28 Mo. 259) ; and where the necessity of acting is a matter of discretion, it will not lie even to compel action (6 How. [U. S.] 92; 5 Iowa, 380). The writ of mandamus is either alternative or peremptory. The former usually Issued at the commencement of the suit, commanding in the alternative that defendant do the specified act, or show cause why he should. not, and the latter, issued after hearing, commanding the performance of the decree without alternative.

Mandamus in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

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Mandamus Mandamus in the World Legal Encyclopedia.
Mandamus Mandamus in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Mandamus Mandamus in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Mandamus Mandamus in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Mandamus Mandamus in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

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Legal Issue for Attorneys

In practice. This is a high prerogative writ, usually issuing out of the highest court of general jurisdiction in a state, in the name of the sovereignty, directed to any natural person, corporation, or inferior court of judicature within its jurisdiction, requiring them to do some particular thing therein specified, and which appertains to their ofl5ce or duty. 3 BI Comm. 110; 4 Bac. Abr. 495; Opinion of Marshall, C, J., 1 Cranch (U. S.) 137, 168. It is a proper remedy to compel the performance of a specific act where the act is ministerial in its character (12 Pet. [U. S 1 524; 34 Pa. St. 293; 26 Ga. 665; 7 Iowa, 186, 390) ; but where the act is of a discretionary (6 How. [U. S.] 92; 11 How. [U. S.l 272; 17 How. [U. S.] 284; 12 Cush. [Mass.] 403; 20 Tex. 60; 10 Cal. 376; 5 Har. [Del] 108; 12 Md. 329; 4 Mich. 187; 5 Ohio St. 528) or judicial’ nature (14 La. Ann. 60; 7 Cal. 130; 18 B. Mon. [Ky.] 423; 7 El. & Bl. 366) , it will lie only to compel action generally (11 Cal. 42; 30 Ala. [N. S.] 49; 28 Mo. 259) ; and where the necessity of acting is a matter of discretion, it will not lie even to compel action (6 How. [U. S.] 92; 5 Iowa, 380). The writ of mandamus is either alternative or peremptory. The former usually Issued at the commencement of the suit, commanding in the alternative that defendant do the specified act, or show cause why he should. not, and the latter, issued after hearing, commanding the performance of the decree without alternative.

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Notice

This definition of Mandamus Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

(Latin for “We command.’ ‘) A writ issued by a court of superior jurisdiction to a public or private corporation, or an official thereof, or an inferior court, commanding the performance of an official act, which the person or body named in the writ had failed or refused to perform. It is an extraordinary writ (in U.S. law), which is issued in cases where the usual and ordinary procedures do not afford remedies to the party aggrieved. The writ of mandamus is known as a remedy for official inaction. It was introduced to prevent disorder from a failure of public officials to perform their duties and is still an important legal remedy for the protection of the public and of individuals against exploitation and abuse by official inaction. Mandamus is frequently applied for to control the letting of public contracts. A mandamus may also enforce a private right. It compels the performance by a corporation of a variety of specific acts within the scope of the corporation’s duties. For example, a stockholder may institute a mandamus proceeding to compel a corporation to submit to an inspection of its books and records .

The writ is either peremptory or alternate. The peremptory mandamus compels the defendant to perform the required act; the alternate mandamus compels the defendant to perform the act or show cause on a certain day why he or she should not perform it. The alternate writ is usually issued first.

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Mandamus?

For a meaning of it, read Mandamus in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Mandamus.

Mandamus and Corporate Law

This section provides basic coverage of Mandamus in relation to U.S. state and federal corporate law. For comprehensive coverage, please visit the main entry.

Meaning of Mandamus

In plain or simple terms, Mandamus means: A writ by which a court commands the performance of a particular act.

Alternative Writ of Mandate (Mandamus) Background

Mandamus Background

Mandamus (Remedies)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of mandamus. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Remedies is provided. Finally, the subject of Judicial Review in relation with mandamus is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.

Resources

See Also

  • Corporate Law

Meaning of Mandamus

In plain or simple terms, Mandamus means: A writ by which a court commands the performance of a particular act.

Alternative Writ of Mandate (Mandamus) Background

Mandamus Background

Resources

See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • Further Reading (Articles)

    LRF to make cash offer for all shares in Mandamus Fastigheter AB.(Lantbrukarnas Ekonomi Aktiebolag )(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; March 20, 2003

    Administrative Law – Mandamus – D.C. Circuit Compels Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Follow Statutory Mandate, Harvard Law Review; January 1, 2014

    Commonwealth Court Vacates County Court Writ Of Mandamus Against Kantner, Republican & Herald (Pottsville, PA); August 15, 2011; JOHN E USALIS

    Mandamus acquires properties for SEK80m from Castellum.(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; March 6, 2002

    Mandamus sells remaining properties in Valdemarksvik, Sweden.(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; August 22, 2002

    Mandamus AB to divest properties in Karlstad for SEK260m.(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; May 28, 2003

    Defendants’ motion for judgment denied: writ of mandamus ordered on condition.(Rx For Physicians Caveat), Medical Law’s Regan Report; June 1, 2004; Tammelleo, A. David

    Mandamus Fastigheter AB sells its shares in Klovern AB.(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; September 2, 2003

    Mandamus Fastigheter AB divests two residential properties in Malmo, Sweden.(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; January 13, 2003

    Mandamus disposes properties for SEK157m.(property company sells 17 properties in Sweden)(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; April 5, 2001

    Mandamus Fastigheter AB reports fall in pre-tax result after write-downs and other non-recurring costs.(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; February 6, 2003

    Mandamus reports record earnings.(Mandamus Fastigheter AB)(Brief Article)(Statistical Data Included), Nordic Business Report; July 25, 2002

    Exercising Authority To Issue Writs Of Mandamus.(International Trade Commission accused Princo Corp.), Mondaq Business Briefing; April 9, 2007; Desai, Anish

    Court granted dr.’s petition for writ of mandamus on limitations.(Medical Law Case on Point), Medical Law’s Regan Report; August 1, 2011

    Commissioners, Kantner Headed To Court Again; Auditor Payments Lead To Mandamus Action, Republican & Herald (Pottsville, PA); January 14, 2011; BEN WOLFGANG

    The Application of the Writ of Mandamus, The Sunday Observer; November 26, 2012

    Mandamus, Writ of, Encyclopedia of the American Constitution; January 1, 2000

    Mandamus Fastigheter AB posts 9-month operating profit of SEK295m on rent income of SEK691m.(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; October 23, 2003

    Mandamus Fastigheter AB posts first-half operating profit of SEK177m.(2003 period)(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; July 22, 2003

    Mandamus Fastigheter AB reports pre-tax profit of SEK124m in first nine months of the year.(Brief Article), Nordic Business Report; October 22, 2002

    Mandamus in State Statute Topics

    Introduction to Mandamus (State statute topic)

    The purpose of Mandamus is to provide a broad appreciation of the Mandamus legal topic. Select from the list of U.S. legal topics for information (other than Mandamus).

    Mandamus and Corporate Law

    This section provides basic coverage of Mandamus in relation to U.S. state and federal corporate law. For comprehensive coverage, please visit the main entry.

    Meaning of Mandamus

    In plain or simple terms, Mandamus means: A writ by which a court commands the performance of a particular act.

    Alternative Writ of Mandate (Mandamus) Background

    Mandamus Background

    Resources

    See Also

    • Corporate Law

    Meaning of Mandamus

    In plain or simple terms, Mandamus means: A writ by which a court commands the performance of a particular act.

    Alternative Writ of Mandate (Mandamus) Background

    Mandamus Background

    Resources

    Further Reading

    Mandamus in the context of Juvenile and Family Law

    Definition ofMandamus published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges:Lit., “We order”; an extraordinary writ issued by a higher court and directed to a public executive or administrative officer or agency, or the judge of a lower court, commanding the performance of a specified act.

    Mandamus: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

    Federal Primary Materials

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    Federal primary materials about Mandamus by content types:

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    US Constitution
    Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

    Federal Case Law and Court Materials

    U.S. Courts of Appeals
    United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

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    Presidential Materials

    Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

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    Federal Legislative History Materials

    Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Mandamus and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Mandamus or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

    State Administrative Materials and Resources

    State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Mandamus and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Mandamus. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Mandamus should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

    State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

    State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Mandamus when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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