mandamus

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mandamus

(măndā`məs) [Lat.,=we order], in law, writwrit,
in law, written order issued in the name of the sovereign or the state in connection with a judicial or an administrative proceeding. Usually the writ requires the person to whom the command is issued to report at a fixed time (the return day) with proof of compliance or a
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 directing the performance of ministerial acts. A ministerial act is one that a person or body is obliged by law to perform under given circumstances; e.g., on receipt of the fee, a license clerk must grant a marriage license to persons legally qualified to marry. If the law allows discretion in performance, the act is not ministerial; thus mandamus will not be issued if, pursuant to statute, a license to sell liquor is refused because of the applicant's immoral character. Mandamus may be used to compel the directors of a corporation to produce the books for inspection in the manner provided by law or to compel a lower court to accept a suit it has illegally refused. Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy; i.e., it will not be issued if the usual remedies, e.g., damagesdamages,
money award that the judgment of a court requires the defendant in a suit to pay to the plaintiff as compensation for the loss or injury inflicted. Damages are the form of legal redress most commonly sought.
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 for the breach of duty, are adequate. Mandamus, originally granted at the will of the English king, is now available from ordinary courts in Great Britain and the United States. In the famous case of Marbury v. MadisonMarbury v. Madison,
case decided in 1803 by the U.S. Supreme Court. William Marbury had been commissioned justice of the peace in the District of Columbia by President John Adams in the "midnight appointments" at the very end of his administration.
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 the Supreme Court was asked to issue a writ of mandamus against Secretary of State James Madison. See injunctioninjunction,
in law, order of a court directing a party to perform a certain act or to refrain from an act or acts. The injunction, which developed as the main remedy in equity, is used especially where money damages would not satisfy a plaintiff's claim, or to protect personal
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