Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Certiorari


Quick Summary of Certiorari

A common-law writ issued by a superior court to one of inferior jurisdiction demanding the record of a particular case.

What is the dictionary definition of Certiorari?

Dictionary Definition

n. (sersh-oh-rare-ee) a writ (order) of a higher court to a lower court to send all the documents in a case to it so the higher court can review the lower court’s decision. Certiorari is most commonly used by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is selective about which cases it will hear on appeal. To appeal to the Supreme Court one applies to the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, which it grants at its discretion and only when at least three members believe that the case involves a sufficiently significant federal question in the public interest. By denying such a writ the Supreme Court says it will let the lower court decision stand, particularly if it conforms to accepted precedents (previously decided cases).

Full Definition of Certiorari

Certiorari is a prerogative writ of the superior court to call for the records of an inferior court or body acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity. Different Constitutions enable the Supreme Court and the high courts respectively to issue orders, writs or directions in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, prohibition and certiorari.

The order or certiorari issues out of the High Court, and is directed to the Judge or another officer of an inferior court of record. It requires that the record of the proceedings in some cause or matter pending before the inferior court shall be transmitted to a High Court to be there dealt with in order to ensure that the applicant for the order may have the more sure and speedy justice, It may be had in either civil or criminal proceedings.

An essential feature of a writ of certiorari is that the control over judicial or quasi-judicial tribunals or bodies is exercised not in an appellate but supervisory capacity.

Synonyms For Certiorari

writ of certiorari

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Certiorari. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
January 24, 2022 https://payrollheaven.com/define/certiorari/.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Certiorari. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
https://payrollheaven.com/define/certiorari/ (accessed: January 24, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Certiorari. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved January 24, 2022
, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/certiorari/

Definition Sources

Definitions for Certiorari are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th April, 2020 | 2 Views.