Prerogative Writ Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Prerogative Writ, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Prerogative Writ?

These are the court orders(writs) issued to the bodies of individual or individuals of like government officials, lower courts or agencies , under certain circumstances.

History and Meaning of Prerogative Writ

Prerogative writs are court orders issued by superior courts in common law jurisdictions. They are used to command bodies, individuals or lower courts, and tribunals to perform their public, legal duties or to refrain from acting in excess of their powers. This power is derived from the authority of the monarch or the inherent jurisdiction of the superior courts.

The term "prerogative writ" comes from the English legal system and was initially utilized as a tool by the monarch to command his or her officials. With time, the power to issue these writs was transferred to the superior courts. These writs have been historically used in various contexts such as habeas corpus, certiorari, mandamus, and prohibition. As a result, these writs act as essential vehicles for the protection of individual rights and upholding the rule of law.

Examples of Prerogative Writ

Here are a few examples of how prerogative writs can be used in different contexts:

  1. Habeas corpus - this writ is used to demand the release of a person who has been unlawfully detained.
  2. Certiorari - this writ is used by an appellate court to review decisions made by a lower court or tribunal.
  3. Mandamus - this writ is used to compel a public official or body to carry out their legal duties.
  4. Prohibition - this writ is used to prohibit a public official or body from acting beyond their powers or jurisdiction.

Legal Terms Similar to Prerogative Writ

Here are a few legal terms related to prerogative writ:

  1. Jurisdiction - the legal authority a court has over a person, case or matter.
  2. Habeas corpus - a writ that compels the release of an individual who is being unlawfully detained.
  3. Mandamus - a writ that compels a public official or body to carry out their legal duty.
  4. Certiorari - a writ that is issued by a higher court to review a decision made by a lower court or tribunal.