A Maryland circuit court can order a state agency to take certain actions. This type of order is a Writ of Mandamus. To request a circuit court to issue this type of order, you must file a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus with the court. There are two types of Writs of Mandamus.

Types of Writs of Mandamus

The first type of Writ of Mandamus orders an agency to correct a public record. This type is a conventional mandamus. For example, a writ of mandamus may order the Maryland Vehicle Administration to title a vehicle. The court can only order an agency to take actions that the agency official’s job requires them to take. You cannot request the court to order an agency to take an action that is discretionary. A discretionary action is something an agency official can chose to do or not.

A petition for the second type of Writ of Mandamus requests the court to review an administrative agency’s decision. This type is an administrative mandamus. You may only request this second type of mandamus when there is no further process for review left. Most agency decisions do have a review process that you must pursue first.

A Petition for a Writ of Mandamus is complicated. You should consider hiring an attorney.

What to File?

There are no forms. Consult the Maryland Rules and a law library for guidance on how to draft the petition. You can find the Maryland Rules at the State Law Library website along with library locations. Maryland Rule 15-701 has more information on requesting a writ of mandamus.

What Happens After You File?

The court will hold a hearing. Be prepared to present evidence and explain why the court should agree with you. If the court does agree with you, the court will issue an order for the state or local agency to take a certain action.