Certiorari Definition

Learn about the definition and importance of certiorari in legal proceedings. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics on this crucial legal concept.

Introduction to Certiorari

Certiorari is a legal term that refers to a writ issued by a higher court ordering a lower court to send up the record of a case for review. It is often used in common law systems to correct errors in legal proceedings and ensure that justice is served.

How Certiorari Works

When a party in a legal case believes that a lower court has made a mistake, they can petition a higher court for certiorari. If the higher court grants the writ, it will review the lower court’s decision and determine if any errors were made.

Examples of Certiorari

One famous example of certiorari is the case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803, where the U.S. Supreme Court asserted its power of judicial review over acts of Congress. This case established the principle that the Court has the authority to declare laws unconstitutional.

Case Studies

  • In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of United States v. Texas, which dealt with the legality of President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The Court ultimately issued a split decision, leaving the lower court’s ruling in place.
  • In 2020, the Indian Supreme Court granted certiorari in a case challenging the constitutionality of a controversial citizenship law. The Court’s decision to hear the case sparked widespread protests and debate across the country.

Statistics on Certiorari

According to a study by the American Bar Association, the U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari in only about 1% of the cases it receives each year. This shows that the Court is selective in its choice of cases to review.

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