Certiorari: A Synoptic Guide

When a party loses in a court of law, it may appeal the decision to a higher court.

In some instances, parties are entitled to an appeal, as a matter of right.

However, sometimes a party is not able to appeal as a matter of right. In these instances, the party may only appeal by filing a writ of certiorari. If a court grants the writ of certiorari, then that court will hear that case. 

Certiorari
[it is derived from Latin, meaning To be informed of. ]

Pronounciation:
/ˌsəːtɪə(ʊ)ˈrɑːri/

Brief history
At Common Law , an original writ or order issued by the Chancery or King’s Bench, commanding officers of inferior courts to submit the record of a cause pending before them to give the party more certain and speedy justice.
By the virtue of our colonial inheritance we adopted the in to our legal system.

it is writ that a superior appellate court issues in its discretion to an inferior court, ordering it to produce a certified record of a particular case it has tried, in order to determine whether any irregularities or errors occurred that justify review of the case.

A petition for certiorari is made to a superior appellate court, which may exercise its discretion in accepting a case for review, while an appeal of a case from a lower court to an intermediate appellate court, or from an intermediate appellate court to a superior appellate court, is regulated by statute. Appellate review of a case that is granted by the issuance of certiorari is sometimes called an appeal, although such review is at the discretion of the appellate court.

A party, the petitioner, files a petition for certiorari with the appellate court after a judgment has been rendered against him in the inferior court. The petition must specifically state why the relief sought is unavailable in any other court or through any other appellate process, along with information clearly identifying the case and the questions to be reviewed, the relevant provisions of law to be applied, a concise statement of facts relating to the issues, and any other materials required by statute. The rules of practice of the appellate court to which the petitioner has applied for relief govern the procedure to be observed.

After evaluating the petition, the appellate court will decide whether to grant or deny certiorari. Certiorari is issued, designated as “cert. granted,” when the case presents an issue that is appropriate for resolution by the court and it is in the public interest to do so, such as when the issue has been decided differently by a variety of lower courts, thereby creating confusion and necessitating a uniform interpretation of the law. Certiorari is denied when the appellate court decides that the case does not present an appropriate matter for its consideration. In has become moot, the Court will dismiss the petition as “having been improvidently granted,” which has the same effect as an initial denial of the petition. Practically speaking, this rarely occurs.

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