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The Legal Intricacies Of The Certiorari Writ

Parties who are not satisfied with the decision of the lower court can file a petition to the court and ask for a review. It is a request considering which the Supreme Court orders the lower court to send up the record of a case for review. The Court is under no such obligation to hear these cases until and unless the case bears any national significance.

In fact, the Supreme Court accepts 100-150 out of more than 7000 cases that are asked to review each year. Typically, the court hears only those cases that have been decided in either an appropriate U.S Court of Appeals or the highest court in the given state.

The Supreme Court has its own set of rules when it comes to filing a petition for the writ of certiorari. As per the norm, four out of the nine justices must vote for accepting the case. Five out of nine justices must vote in order to grant a stay. Under certain circumstances, one Justice may even grant a stay ending review by the entire court.

Originally, the certiorari writ is a proceeding through which a superior court required the lower court to submit the full record of a certain case for review. But as per the current rules and practices of the Supreme Court, the key elements of the proceedings need to be submitted along with the petition of certiorari.

The petition for writ of certiorari shall contain certain contents, some of which are the following:

The questions presented for review must be expressed concisely without any such unnecessary bragging. The questions must be short and should not be repetitive or argumentative.

A list of all the parties whose judgment is sought to be reviewed along with the list of unwholly owned subsidiaries.

If the petition prepared under Rule 33.1 exceeds 1,500 words or exceeds five pages if prepared under Rule 33.2, the table of contents shall include the items mentioned in the appendix.

Citations of all the official and unofficial reports of the orders entered in the case by courts or administrative agencies.

A concise statement of the basis for jurisdiction in the Lower Court.

The constitutional provisions, treaties, statues, ordinances, and regulations involved in the case, set out with proper citation.

A concise statement of the case setting out the questions [presented along with the material of consideration.

A direct and concise argument highlighting the reasons relied on for allowing the petition.

All contentions in support of the petition shall be set out in the body of the petition. No separate brief supporting the petition may be filed.

A petition for the writ of certiorari should be stated in simple terms and should not exceed the word limits specified in Rule 33.

If the petitioner fails to provide a petition of utmost accuracy, brevity, and clarity, then it would be considered as a sufficient reason by the Supreme Court to deny the petition. Also, if the clerk determines that the petition filed does not comply with Rule 33 or 34, then the clerk will return the petition with a letter indicating its deficiency. A corrected petition needs to be submitted within the next sixty days of the Clerk’s letter as per Rule 29.2.

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