Orders or writs which the High Court may issue when exercising its supervisory jurisdiction

Declaration:

  • This is a high court order which authoritatively articulates the legal position of the matter before the court for example and a declaration of a persons individual rights.
  • The order is incapable of being executed.

Prohibition:

  • This is an order directed to usurpers forbidding them from commencing or proceeding in a cause pending before them.
  • It is ordinarily made in circumstances in which a court tribunal or official has no jurisdiction to proceed in a particular manner e.g. improper constitution, non-compliance with an essential preliminary requirement.
  • The order prevents a court of tribunal from exceeding or continuing to exceed its jurisdiction or infringing the rules of natural justice.
  • Disobedience is punishable contempt of court.

Certiorari:

  • This is an order of the high court to a subordinate court, tribunal or authority requiring it to produce a certified copy of a particular case for review and if found inappropriate the decision is quashed.The order enables the high court to examine proceedings in other bodies to determine whether there have been any irregularities and may be made where a court, tribunal or authority has:
  1. Exceeded jurisdiction
  2. Violated the rules of natural justice.
  3.  An error on the face of the record.

Mandamus:
This is an order of the High Court directed to any person corporation or court requiring the same to do a particular thing appertaining to a public office or duty if the same has been refused the official or public authority. It secures performance tribunals, courts, public officials
and administrative authorities.

Habeas Corpus:

  • Literally means produce body.
  • This is an order of the high court directed to a detaining authority demanding the production of the body of the detainee, before the court to show cause why he should not be released forthwith.
  • It tests the legality of the detention or imprisonment.
  • Its function is to secure the release of a person in unlawful custody.
  • It is generally availed in circumstances in which a persons right of personal liberty is violated.
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