What is a Writ and How Does It Relate to Appeals?

In English law, a writ was a command, in letter form, written by or at least signed and sealed by the King. They were originally written in Latin and sealed with what was known as the “Great Seal.” Writs were mandatory in order to have a case heard in the Royal court.

Today, a writ is defined as “a form of written command in the name of a court or other legal authority to act, or abstain from acting, in some way.” A writ is also referred to as a directive from a higher court used to order a lower court to take an action that is within accordance of the law.

An example of a writ: If a lower court makes the decision to try a case outside of its jurisdiction, a writ of mandamus, or writ of mandate, is often sought from a higher court by one or the other attorneys in a given case. This writ orders the lower court to transfer the case to its appropriate jurisdiction.

The Difference between Writs and Appeals

Appeals are not made to a higher court until the decision of the lower court is finalized. In other words after the judgment is made and a final verdict is recorded. Writs, on the other hand do not require a final decision. They are immediate orders used in certain circumstances in the course of a trial or hearing. Writs will interrupt the proceedings of a court case, which results in delays and hassles for one or all parties.

It isn’t often that a higher court issues a writ to a lower court. Only under extraordinary circumstances and situations where there is no other solution or where a party in a case could be caused harm or have their rights infringed.

Overall, writs are designed to force the lower court to change what they are doing or to take an action they would otherwise overlook or simply not choose to do. Since appeals are seldom reversed, good attorneys keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities to get a writ in extenuating circumstances.

Holstrom, Block & Parke is a law firm of highly experienced attorneys who can help you with appeals or writs when necessary. You have nothing to lose by taking advantage of a free consultation.

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