• A writ petition is a request to an appellate court to grant immediate relief from a trial court order. Writ petitions have very high hurdles to clear in any court, and are rarely granted.


    Asking the appellate court to stop the trial courts' orders should only be done in extraordinary circumstances when there is no other remedy for the petitioner, says Laura Boudreau of Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP. A writ petition indicates that your case needs to be addressed before the trial court's final judgment and before the regular appeals process begins.

    Rarely Granted

    Writ petitions have exacting requirements, and are rarely granted. In 2004, lawyers in California filed more than 8,000 writ petitions statewide and 90 percent were denied.

    A Winning Case

    Most successful writ petitions happen when there is a public or legal significance to the writ. According to Boudreau, some writs are granted because the petitioner shows that the trial court's sentence "imposes unusually harsh and unfair results for which ordinary appellate review is inadequate."

    Proceed with Caution

    You must determine what type of writ to file, when and where you must file it, and what must be done to comply with all the procedural requirements. Both law and procedure are likely to vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If your writ petition does not follow all of the requirements, it is highly likely to fail.

    Writ-en Concisely

    Focus your writ petition on an issue that is worth the appellate courts' time, the Appellate Counselor tip page advises. Summarize your argument in a few sentences and explain the case sufficiently without going into every legal argument why it is important to grant your petition (see reference 1 & 5).

    Short with No Delays

    Writ petitions are short--no more than one or two pages. Some writs allow you up to 60 days to get the writ filed; you want to file as soon as possible since the other side will file too (see reference 1).


    Laura Boudreau: What Every Lawyer Should Know about Writs

    Britannica Online: Writ

    "Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law: Writs;" Ed. Jeffrey Wilson, 2006.


    Joseph P. Mascovich, Tips For a Well-Written Writ

    Appellate Counsellor Tips

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