Practical Law Glossary Item 6-507-0674 (Approx. 2 pages)
A Latin term for "we command." Mandamus refers to a writ issued by a court ordering a lower court (or governmental entity) to properly carry out a nondiscretionary ministerial function. Mandamus is a drastic remedy and is invoked only in extraordinary cases where there is a clear and indisputable right to the relief sought. For example, if a trial court refuses to issue a final ruling in a case, effectively preventing the aggrieved party from appealing the court's decision, an appellate court may grant a writ of mandamus ordering the lower court to issue its final ruling so that the aggrieved party may challenge the ruling on appeal.