mandamus n[Latin, we enjoin, from mandare to enjoin]
: an extraordinary writ issued by a court of competent jurisdiction to an inferior tribunal, a public official, an administrative agency, a corporation, or any person compelling the performance of an act usually only when there is a duty under the law to perform the act, the plaintiff has a clear right to such performance, and there is no other adequate remedy available
: an action in the nature of a writ of mandamus in jurisdictions where the writ is abolished compare cease-and-desist order at order , injunction , stay NOTE: Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy and is issued usually only to command the performance of a ministerial act. It cannot be used to substitute the court's judgment for the defendant's in the performance of a discretionary act.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.