Rule 21 – Extraordinary writs
(through July 14, 2022)
(a) Mandamus or Prohibition to a Court: Petition, Filing, Service, and Docketing.
(1) A party petitioning for a writ of mandamus or prohibition directed to a court must file a petition with the circuit clerk and serve it on all parties to the proceeding in the trial court. The party must also provide a copy to the trial-court judge. All parties to the proceeding in the trial court other than the petitioner are respondents for all purposes.
(2)(A) The petition must be titled “In re [name of petitioner].”
(B) The petition must state:
(i) the relief sought;
(ii) the issues presented;
(iii) the facts necessary to understand the issue presented by the petition; and
(iv) the reasons why the writ should issue.
(C) The petition must include a copy of any order or opinion or parts of the record that may be essential to understand the matters set forth in the petition.
(3) Upon receiving the prescribed docket fee, the clerk must docket the petition and submit it to the court.
(b) Denial; Order Directing Answer; Briefs; Precedence.
(1) The court may deny the petition without an answer. Otherwise, it must order the respondent, if any, to answer within a fixed time.
(2) The clerk must serve the order to respond on all persons directed to respond.
(3) Two or more respondents may answer jointly.
(4) The court of appeals may invite or order the trial-court judge to address the petition or may invite an amicus curiae to do so. The trial-court judge may request permission to address the petition but may not do so unless invited or ordered to do so by the court of appeals.
(5) If briefing or oral argument is required, the clerk must advise the parties, and when appropriate, the trial-court judge or amicus curiae.
(6) The proceeding must be given preference over ordinary civil cases.
(7) The circuit clerk must send a copy of the final disposition to the trial-court judge.
(c) Other Extraordinary Writs. An application for an extraordinary writ other than one provided for in Rule 21(a) must be made by filing a petition with the circuit clerk and serving it on the respondents. Proceedings on the application must conform, so far as is practicable, to the procedures prescribed in Rule 21(a) and (b).
(d) Form of Papers; Number of Copies; Length Limits. All papers must conform to Rule 32(c)(2). An original and 3 copies must be filed unless the court requires the filing of a different number by local rule or by order in a particular case. Except by the court’s permission, and excluding the accompanying documents required by Rule 21(a)(2)(C):
(1) a paper produced using a computer must not exceed 7,800 words; and
(2) a handwritten or typewritten paper must not exceed 30 pages.
Selected Committee Notes
The term “proof of service” in subdivisions (a)(1) and (c) is deleted to reflect amendments to Rule 25(d) that eliminate the requirement of a proof of service when service is completed using a court’s electronic filing system.