I. Why do we want a Writ of Mandamus?
In general, a writ of mandamus can be described as an order, “commanding the performance of an act that the law requires as a clearly defined duty, arising from an office, trust, or station.” 55 C.J.S. Mandamus § 1. Moreover, a writ of mandamus may be issued to command a nongovernmental body, such as a medical licensing board, to perform a specified duty imposed by law, and can also be invoked to control flagrant abuses of discretion. Id. For example, in some instances, upon judicial review, if a court is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to a license, it may order the license issued notwithstanding the boards denial of the license. 70 C.J.S. Physicians and Surgeons § 38. In New Jersey, “Prior to the adoption of the 1947 Constitution, ‘persons aggrieved by action or inaction of … administrative agencies could seek judicial relief by applying for one of the prerogative writs – certiorari, mandamus, quo warranto and prohibition.” Jeffery S. Mandel, New Jersey Appellate Practice 141 (GANN, 2008). However, such writs were abolished by the 1947 Constitution in an attempt to simplify the procedure with regard to prerogative writs. Id. at 142. At that time, prerogative writs were superseded and consolidated into one action, now called actions “in lieu of prerogative writs.” Id.; 19 N.J. Prac., Skills And Methods § 4:1, § 4:2 (Rev. 3d ed.). State boards of medical examiners, also known as medical licensing boards, are state agencies subject to state administrative procedures. 61 Am. Jur. 2d License to Practice § 17. Therefore, the acts and decisions of these boards are governed by state administrative procedure acts, which usually provide for judicial review. Id. § 62, § 103. Mandamus, in general, is a proper remedy to review acts and decisions of an administrative agency, and more specifically, to compel action by a licensing board with respect to the issuance of professional licenses. 52 Am. Jur. 2d Mandamus § 203; see...
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