Writ of Prohibition – issued by an appellate court to prevent a lower court from exceeding jurisdiction or to prevent a nonjudicial officer or entity from exercising a power

Writ of Prohibition:

2. An extraordinary writ issued by an appellate court to prevent a lower court from exceeding its jurisdiction or to prevent a nonjudicial officer or entity from exercising a power. – Also termed prohibition or (in Scots law) inhibition.”[1]

     Excerpt from Benjamin J. Shipman’s Handbook of Common-Law Pleading:

     “Prohibition is a kind of common-law injunction to
prevent an unlawful assumption of jurisdiction… It is a common-law injunction against governmental usurpation, as where one is called coram non judice (before a judge unauthorized to take cognizance of the affair), to answer in a tribunal that has no legal cognizance of the cause; It arrests the proceedings of any tribunal, board, or person exercising judicial functions in a manner or by means not within its jurisdiction or discretion.”[2]

     Excerpt from Forrest G. Ferris & Forrest G. Ferris Jr.’s The Law of Extraordinary Legal Remedies:

     “The remedy by writ of prohibition is of ancient origin in our system of jurisprudence. It is an original remedial writ, as old as the co mmon law itself.  The writ is so ancient that forms of it are given in Glanville (Beames’ Trans.) … , the first book of English law, written in the year 1189. The origin of the proceeding by prohibition was to secure the sovereign rights, and preserve the public quiet. It was an emanative of the great executive authority of the king, delegated to his courts, and particularly to the king’s bench. It was one of his prerogative writs, necessary to perfect the administration of his justice and the control of subordinate functionaries and authorities.  By the writ of prohibition he forbade what ought not to be done, in cases where the general authority was not denied, or not intended to be resumed.”[3]

References:

[1]: All definitions throughout this page from Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of Common-Law Pleading §.341, at 542 (Henry Winthrop ‘ Ballantine ed., 3d ed. 1923).

[3]: Forrest G. Ferris & Forrest G. Ferris Jr.’s The Law of Extraordinary Legal Remedies 414-15 (1926)20

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