You Deserve Justice

How do interlocutory writs work for appeals?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Appeals |

The American legal system generally follows a final judgment rule. This means that appeals typically occur after all claims in a lawsuit are resolved. But what happens when a critical ruling mid-case threatens to disadvantage one party unfairly?

This is where interlocutory writs can come in. These writs are powerful tools that allow parties to challenge certain trial court orders before a final judgment.

Interlocutory appeals and the role of writs

An interlocutory appeal is one filed before the conclusion of a case. Normally, courts frown upon such appeals, preferring parties to wait for the final judgment to avoid piecemeal litigation. However, exceptions exist for specific situations.

Interlocutory writs can come in the form of mandamus. This writ is a powerful order issued by a higher court directing a lower court to perform a specific legal duty. It’s used in rare circumstances where the lower court has made a clear error of law, and no other adequate remedy exists.

In other cases, a trial court judge can “certify” a particular interlocutory order for immediate appeal. This typically happens when the order involves a significant legal question that, if decided by the appellate court, could potentially end the litigation or substantially impact its course.

The interplay between writs and interlocutory appeals

Obtaining an interlocutory appeal through writs is not a straightforward process. For starters, the threshold for obtaining a writ of mandamus is quite high. The appealing party must convince the appellate court that the lower court’s error was so egregious that it essentially amounted to a denial of justice.

Moreover, the trial court has discretion in deciding whether to certify an order. For certification to be granted, the order must meet specific criteria, often outlined in statutes like 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) for federal courts.

Interlocutory writs are extraordinary remedies used in exceptional circumstances. While they may offer a vital safeguard against egregious errors by lower courts, their use is limited. If you have questions or concerns about this course of action, consulting a legal team is crucial to determine if an interlocutory writ is the right way forward for your specific situation.