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Article 78 Proceedings

Article 78 of the New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) provides a mechanism for actions, or inactions, of a government agency or official to be challenged in court. There are three basic forms of relief one can seek.

Writ of Mandamus

A Writ of Mandamus can compel a government agency or official to do something they are required by law to do. For example, one might file an Article 78 in the form of a Writ of Mandamus to Compel to compel a government agency to issue a decision on an application. One might also file an Article 78 in the form of a Writ of Mandamus to Compel to compel a court to issue a decision in a case or on motion when that court has taken too long to render such decision.

Writ of Prohibition

A Writ of Prohibition seeks to force or compel a government agency or official to refrain from doing something it should not do. For example, one might file an Article 78 in the form of a Writ of Prohibition to prohibit an agency, or even a court or judge, from acting outside the scope of their authority. If a judge were to unilaterally vacate a defendant’s accepted plea bargained for a guilty plea, for example, that defendant could bring an Article 78 in the form of a Writ of Prohibition.

Mandamus of Review

A Mandamus of Review is utilized where one seeks the reversal of a public agency or official’s decision. Some examples of when an Article 78 in the form of a Mandamus to Review would be used are such things as the denial of a request for a rent increase in a rent stabilized housing unit, the denial of pistol permit applications, a guilty finding in a DMV Traffic Violations Bureau hearing, and a finding of child abuse or neglect made by an agency like Child Protective Services (CPS).

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