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In
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
, a writ (Anglo-Saxon ''gewrit'', Latin ''breve'') is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
; in modern usage, this body is generally a
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Sta ...

court
. Warrants,
prerogative writ A prerogative writ is a writ In common law, a writ (Anglo-Saxon ''gewrit'', Latin ''breve'') is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ' ...
s,
subpoena A subpoena (; also subpœna, supenna or subpena) or witness summons is a writ issued by a government agency, most often a court, to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There are two common types of ...
s, and
Certiorari In law, ''certiorari'' is a Legal process, court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency. ''Certiorari'' comes from the name of an English prerogative writ, issued by a superior court to direct that t ...
are common types of writ, but many forms exist and have existed. In its earliest form, a writ was simply a written order made by the English monarch to a specified person to undertake a specified action; for example, in the feudal era a military summons by the king to one of his
tenants-in-chief In medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the ...
to appear dressed for battle with
retinue A retinue is a body of persons "retained" in the service of a noble, royal Royal may refer to: People * Royal (name)Royal can be a surname or a given name. Bearers include: Surname * Billy Joe Royal (1942–2015), American country music a ...
at a certain place and time. An early usage survives in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia in a
writ of election A writ of election is a writ In , a writ (Anglo-Saxon ''gewrit'', Latin ''breve'') is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial ; in modern usage, this body is generally a . , s, s, and are common types of w ...
, which is a written order issued on behalf of the monarch (in Canada, by the Governor General and, in Australia, by the Governor-General for elections for the House of Representatives, or State Governors for state elections) to local officials (
High Sheriff A high sheriff is a ceremonial officer for each shrieval county of England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England an ...
s of every county in the historical UK) to hold a
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
. Writs were used by the medieval English kings to summon persons to
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...
, (then consisting primarily of the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
) whose advice was considered valuable or who were particularly influential, and who were thereby deemed to have been created " barons by writ.


History


Origins

The writ was a unique development of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy and consisted of a brief administrative order, authenticated (innovatively) by a
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaquati ...
.G. O. Sayles, ''The Medieval Foundations of England'' (London 1966) p. 174 Written in the
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
, they generally made a
land grant A land grant is a gift of real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resource , Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitution ...
or conveyed instructions to a local court. In the beginning, writs were the document issued by the King's Chancellor against a landowner whose
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
complained to the King about an injustice, after a first summon by the sheriff to comply had been deemed fruitless.
William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first House of Normandy, Norman List of English monarchs, monarch of Engl ...

William the Conqueror
took over the system unchanged, but was to extend it in two ways: first, writs became mainly framed in Latin, not Anglo-Saxon; second, they covered an increasing range of royal commands and decisions. Writs of instruction continued to develop under his immediate successors, but it was not until that writs became available for purchase by private individuals seeking justice, thus initiating a vast expansion in their role within the common law. Writs could take two main forms, '
letters patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) ( always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act acco ...
', which were open for all to read, and 'letters close' for one or more specified individuals alone.


Development

The development of writs as a means of commencing a court action was a form of "off-the-shelf" justice designed to enable the English law courts to rapidly process lawsuits by allocating each form of complaint into a standard category which could be dealt with by standard procedures. The complainant simply applied to the court for the writ most relevant to his complaint to be sent to the wrongdoer, which ordered him under royal authority to attend a royal court to answer for his actions. The development was part of the establishment of a
Court of Common Pleas A court of common pleas is a common kind of court structure found in various common law jurisdictions. The form originated with the Court of Common Pleas (England), Court of Common Pleas at Westminster, which was created to permit individuals to pre ...

Court of Common Pleas
, for dealing with commonly made complaints by subjects of the crown, for example: "someone has damaged my property". The previous system of justice at the royal
court of Chancery The Court of Chancery was a in that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness (or "inequity") of the . The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including , , the estates of lunatic ...

court of Chancery
was tailor-made to suit each case and was thus highly time-consuming. Thus eventually the obtaining of a writ became necessary, in most cases, to have a case heard in one of the Royal Courts, such as the
King's Bench The Queen's Bench (; or, during the reign of a male monarch, the King's Bench ('), is the superior court in a number of jurisdictions within some of the Commonwealth realms. The original King's Bench, founded in 1215 in England, was one of the ...
or
Common Pleas A court of common pleas is a common kind of court structure found in various common law jurisdictions. The form originated with the Court of Common Pleas (England), Court of Common Pleas at Westminster, which was created to permit individuals to pre ...
. Some franchise courts, especially in the Counties Palatine, had their own system of writs which often reflected or anticipated the common law writs. The writ was "served" on (delivered in person to) the wrongdoer and acted as a command that he should appear at a specified time and date before the court specified in the writ, or it might command some other act on the part of the recipient. Where a
plaintiff A plaintiff ( Π in legal shorthand) is the party who initiates a lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil aff ...
wished to have a case heard by a local court, or by an Eyre if one happened to be visiting the county, there would be no need to obtain a writ. Actions in local courts could usually be started by an informal complaint. However, if a plaintiff wished to avail himself of Royal — and by implication superior — justice in one of the King's courts, then he would need a writ, a command of the King, to enable him to do this. Initially, for common law, recourse to the King's courts was unusual, and something for which a plaintiff would have to pay. For most Royal Courts, the writ would usually have been purchased from the Chancery, although the court of the
Exchequer In the civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transi ...
, being, in essence, another government department, was able to issue its own writs. While originally writs were exceptional, or at least non-routine devices, suggests that by the time of King Henry II (1154–1189), the use of writs had become a regular part of the system of royal justice in England. At first, new writs were drafted to fit each new situation, although in practice the clerks of the Chancery would use wording from previously issued writs, with suitable adjustments, often taken from reference books containing collections of forms of writ, much as in modern times lawyers frequently use fixed precedents or boilerplate, rather than re-inventing the wording of a new legal document. The problem with this approach was that a plaintiff's rights and available forms of action at his disposal, would be defined, and in most cases limited, by the limited variety of writs available to him. Thus the power to create new writs was akin to the power to create new rights, a form of extra-parliamentary legislation. Moreover, a writ, if one could be found fitting the plaintiff's case, provided the legal means to remove the dispute from the jurisdiction of the local court, often controlled by a lesser noble, and instead have it heard by the King's judges. The nobility thus saw the creation of new writs as an erosion of their influence. Over time, opposition to the creation of new writs by the Chancery increased. For example, in 1256 a court was asked to quash a writ as "novel, unheard of, and against reason". Ultimately in 1258, the King was forced to accept the
Provisions of OxfordThe Provisions of Oxford were constitutional reforms developed in 1258 which resolved a dispute between the English barons and King Henry III of England Henry III (1 October 1207 – 16 November 1272), also known as Henry of Winchester, wa ...
, which among other things, prohibited the creation of new forms of writ without the sanction of the King's council. New writs were created after that time only by the express sanction of Parliament and the forms of writ remained essentially static, each writ defining a particular
form of action The forms of action were the different procedures by which a legal claim could be made during much of the history of the English common law. Depending on the court, a plaintiff would purchase a writ in Chancery (medieval office), Chancery (or file ...
. It was the role and expertise of a
solicitor A solicitor is a legal practitioner A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. ...
to select on his client's behalf the appropriate writ for the proposed legal action. These were purchased from the court by payment of a fee. A
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at law, barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialis ...

barrister
would then be hired by the solicitor to speak for his client in court.


Rationalisation of writs

With the abolition of the Forms of Action in 1832 and 1833, a profusion of writs was no longer needed, and one uniform writ came into use. After 1852, the need to state the name of the form of action was also abolished. In 1875, the form of writ was altered so that it conformed more to the
subpoena A subpoena (; also subpœna, supenna or subpena) or witness summons is a writ issued by a government agency, most often a court, to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There are two common types of ...
used in the Chancery. A writ was a summons from the Crown, to the parties to the action, with on its back the substance of the action set out, together with a 'prayer' requesting a remedy from the court (for example damages). In 1980, the need for writs to be written in the name of the Crown was ended. From that time, a writ simply required the parties to appear. Writs applied to claims that were to be heard in one of the courts which eventually formed part of the
High Court of Justice The High Court of Justice in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at th ...
. The procedure in a
county court A county court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil ...
, which was established by statute, was to issue a 'summons'. In 1999, the
Woolf Reforms The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) are the rules of civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits (as opposed to procedures in criminal law matters). These ...
unified most of the procedure of the Supreme Court and the county courts in civil matters. These reforms brought in the
Civil Procedure Rules The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) were introduced in 1997 as per the Civil Procedure Act 1997 and are the rules of English civil procedure, civil procedure used by the Court of Appeal, High Court of Justice, and County Courts in Civil law (common law ...
. Under these, almost all civil actions, other than those connected with insolvency, are now commenced by the completion of a 'Claim Form' as opposed to the obtaining of a 'Writ', 'Originating Application', or 'Summons' (see Rules 7 and 8 of the Civil Procedure Rules).


Writ of election

In some
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
s, for example Canada and some other
parliamentary systems A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic governance Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – whether undertaken by the government of a state (polity), state, by a market (economics), mar ...
, the phrase '
dropping the writ Dropping the writ is the informal term for a procedure in some parliamentary government systems, where the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign stat ...
' refers colloquially to a
dissolution of parliament#REDIRECT Dissolution of parliament {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
and the beginning of an
election campaign A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making progress within a specific group. In democracy, democracies, political campaigns often refer to election, electoral campaigns, by which representatives a ...

election campaign
to form a new one. This phrase derives from the fact that to hold an election in such a system a
writ of election A writ of election is a writ In , a writ (Anglo-Saxon ''gewrit'', Latin ''breve'') is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial ; in modern usage, this body is generally a . , s, s, and are common types of w ...
must be issued on behalf of the monarch ordering the
High Sheriff A high sheriff is a ceremonial officer for each shrieval county of England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England an ...
s of each county to set in motion the procedure for elections.


United States law

Early
law of the United States The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unifie ...
inherited the traditional English writ system, in the sense of a rigid set of forms of relief that the law
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Sta ...

court
s were authorized to grant. The
All Writs Act The All Writs Act is a Act of Congress, United States federal statute, codified at , which authorizes the Federal judiciary of the United States, United States federal courts to "issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective ...
authorizes
United States federal courts The federal judiciary of the United States is one of the three branches of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government ...
to "issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law." However, the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (officially abbreviated Fed. R. Civ. P.; colloquially FRCP) govern civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrela ...
, adopted in 1938 to govern
civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its env ...
in the
United States district court#REDIRECT United States district court The United States district courts are the general trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the aut ...
s, provide that there is only one form of action in civil cases, and explicitly abolish certain writs by name. Relief formerly available by a writ is now normally available by a
lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil ...
(civil action) or a
motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position (mathematics), position over time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of Displacem ...
in a pending civil action. Nonetheless, a few writs have escaped abolition and remain in current use in the U.S. federal courts: *The writ of ''
habeas corpus (; from Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, ...
'', usually used to test the legality of a prisoner's detention, has expressly been preserved. It is explicitly mentioned in Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
. In the United States federal courts, the writ is most often used to review the constitutionality of criminal convictions rendered by state courts. The writ's application does not stop there: the Supreme Court has held the writ of ''habeas corpus'' open to all individuals held by the federal government, including Guantanamo Bay detainees. See '' Boumediene v. Bush''. *By statute, the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
uses the writ of ''
certiorari In law, ''certiorari'' is a Legal process, court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency. ''Certiorari'' comes from the name of an English prerogative writ, issued by a superior court to direct that t ...
'' to review cases from the United States courts of appeals or from the state courts. *In extraordinary circumstances, the
United States court of appeals The United States courts of appeals or circuit courts are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal judiciary. The courts are divided into 13 circuits, and each hears appeals from the district courts within its borders, ...
can use the
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
writ of
prohibition Prohibition is the act or practice of forbidding something by law; more particularly the term refers to the banning of the manufacture Manufacturing is the production of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that st ...
under the All Writs Act to control proceedings in the district courts. *Some courts have held that in rare circumstances in a federal criminal case, a United States district court may use the common law writ of
error Coram nobis The writ of ''coram nobis'' (also known as ''writ of error coram nobis'', ''writ of coram vobis'', or ''writ of error coram vobis'') is a legal order allowing a court to correct its original judgment upon discovery of a fundamental error that did no ...
under the All Writs Act to set aside a conviction when no other remedy is available. * In modern times, the All Writs Act is most commonly used as authority for federal courts to issue
injunction An injunction is a legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of l ...
s to protect their jurisdiction or effectuate their judgments. The situation in the courts of the various
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state ...
s varies from state to state but is often similar to that in the federal courts. Some states continue to use writ procedures, such as ''
quo warranto In British and American common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''B ...
'', that have been abolished as a procedural matter in federal courts. In an attempt to purge Latin from the language of the law,
California law The law of California consists of several levels, including constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law, as well as case law. The California Codes form the general statutory law. Sources of law The Constitution of California is the foremost ...
has for many years used the term ''writ of mandate'' in place of ''writ of mandamus'', and ''writ of review'' in place of ''writ of certiorari''.


Prerogative writs

The "prerogative" writs are a subset of the class of writs, those that are to be heard ahead of any other cases on a court's docket except other such writs. The most common of the other such prerogative writs are ''
habeas corpus (; from Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, ...
'', ''
quo warranto In British and American common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''B ...
'', ''
prohibito A writ of prohibition is a writ In common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in writte ...
'', ''
mandamus (; ) is a judicial remedy A legal remedy, also referred to as judicial relief or a judicial remedy, is the means with which a court of law A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Ad ...
'', ''
procedendo In common-law jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rul ...
'', and ''
certiorari In law, ''certiorari'' is a Legal process, court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency. ''Certiorari'' comes from the name of an English prerogative writ, issued by a superior court to direct that t ...
''. The due process for ''petitions for'' such writs is not simply civil or criminal, because they incorporate the presumption of non-authority, so that the official who is the respondent has the burden to prove his authority to do or not do something, failing which the court has no discretion but to decide for the petitioner, who may be any person, not just an interested party. In this, they differ from a motion in a civil process in which the burden of proof is on the movant, and in which there can be a question of
standing Standing, also referred to as orthostasis, is a position in which the body is held in an ''erect'' ("orthostatic") position and supported only by the feet. Although seemingly static, the body rocks slightly back and forth from the ankle The a ...
.


Other writs

* A ''writ of attachment'' permits the arrest of a person or the seizure of private property. * A ''writ of audita querela'' inhibits the unconscionable use of a lawful judgment because of matters arising subsequent to the judgment. * A directs an officer to take into custody the person named in the writ or order. * A ''writ of coram nobis'' corrects a previous error "of the most fundamental character" to "achieve justice" where "no other remedy" is available, e.g., when a judgment was rendered without full knowledge of the facts. * A ''writ of elegit'' orders the seizure of a portion of a debtor's lands and all his goods (except work animals) towards satisfying a creditor, until the debt is paid off. * A ''writ of error'' is issued by an
appellate court An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the Eng ...
, and directs a lower court of record to submit its record of the case laid for appeal. * A ''writ of exigent'' (or ''exigend'') commands a sheriff to summon a defendant indicted for a felony, who had failed to appear in court, to deliver himself up upon pain of outlawry or forfeiture of his goods. * A ''writ of fieri facias'' (colloquially "fi fa") commands a sheriff to take and auction off enough property from a losing party to pay the debt (plus interest and costs) owed by a judgment debtor. * A ''writ of mittimus'' orders either (1) a court to send its record to another or (2) a jailor to receive the accused in his or her custody at any point during the investigative or trial process. * A ''writ of ne exeat'' restrains a defendant from fleeing the country or jurisdiction. * A ''writ of praemunire'' instructs a sheriff to order someone to appear in court to answer for any of a number of different crimes. * A ''writ of scire facias'' revives a dormant judgment. * A ''writ of supersedeas'' contains a command to stay the proceedings at law. * A ''writ of venire facias'' summons jurors to appear in court."Gloss...Terms", ''Shelby'' (op. cit.), s.v. "Venire facias".


Indian law

Under the Indian legal system, jurisdiction to issue '
prerogative writ A prerogative writ is a writ In common law, a writ (Anglo-Saxon ''gewrit'', Latin ''breve'') is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ' ...
s' is given to the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...

Supreme Court
, and to the High Courts of Judicature of all
Indian states India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and dependencies by area, s ...
. Parts of the law relating to writs are set forth in the
Constitution of India The Constitution of India (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the sci ...

Constitution of India
. The Supreme Court, the highest in the country, may issue writs under Article 32 of the Constitution for enforcement of
fundamental rights Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by a high degree of protection from encroachment. These rights are specifically identified in a constitution, or have been found under due process of law. The United Nations' Sustai ...
and under Article 139 for enforcement of rights other than fundamental rights, while High Courts, the superior courts of the States, may issue writs under Articles 226. The Constitution broadly provides for five kinds of "prerogative" writs: ''habeas corpus'', ''certiorari'', ''mandamus'', ''quo warranto'' and prohibition: * The ''
writ of prohibition A writ of prohibition is a writ In common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in writte ...
'' (forbid) is issued by a higher court to a lower court prohibiting it from taking up a case because it falls outside the jurisdiction of the lower court. Thus, the higher court transfers the case to itself. * The ''
writ of habeas corpus (; Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, know ...
'' (to have the body of) is issued to a detaining authority, ordering the detainer to produce the detained person in the issuing court, along with the cause of his or her detention. If the detention is found to be illegal, the court issues an order to set the person free. * The ''
writ of certiorari In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
'' (be informed) is issued to a lower court directing that the record of a case be sent up for review, together with all supporting files, evidence, and documents, usually with the intention of overruling the judgment of the lower court. It is one of the mechanisms by which the
fundamental rights Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by a high degree of protection from encroachment. These rights are specifically identified in a constitution, or have been found under due process of law. The United Nations' Sustai ...
of the citizens are upheld. * The ''writ of mandamus'' (command) is issued to a subordinate court, an officer of the government, or a corporation or other institution commanding the performance of certain acts or duties. * The ''writ of quo warranto'' (by what authority; under what warrant) is issued against a person who claims or usurps a public office. Through this writ, the court inquires 'by what authority' the person supports his or her claim.


Notes


Bibliography

*Maitland F. W. The Forms of Action at Common Law. Cambridge University Press 1962. *Baker, J. H. An Introduction to English Legal History. Butterworths 1990. *Milsom, S. F. C. Historical Foundations of the Common Law (second edition). Butterworths 1981. {{Authority control Common law Legal history Legal documents Legal procedure Writs, *