A matter recently decided by the Delaware Supreme Court addressed a petition seeking the issuance of a writ of mandamus, prohibition, or certiorari. Matter of Philip R. Shawe, No. 673, 2015 (Jan. 22, 2016). The petition, filed by Philip R. Shawe (“Shawe”), sought a writ that would direct the Court of Chancery to vacate an order which compelled Shawe to return certain privileged documents. It was Shawe’s contention that the order issued by the Court of Chancery violated his First Amendment rights.
The Court explained the requirements for requests of this nature that seek the exercise of its original jurisdiction as follows:
A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary form of relief that this Court may issue to compel a trial court to perform a duty if the petitioner can demonstrate that: (i) the petitioner has a clear right to performance of the duty; (ii) no other adequate remedy is available; and (iii) the trial court arbitrarily failed or refused to perform the duty it owes to the petitioner. A writ of prohibition, on the other hand, is the legal equivalent of an injunction. A writ of certiorari is an extraordinary remedy that is used to correct irregularities in the proceeding of the trial court. This Court has original jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari to review a final order of a trial court where the right of appeal is denied, a grave question of public policy is involved, and no other basis for review is available. Id. at 1. (citations omitted)
The Court concluded that Shawe did not meet his burden to establish the threshold requirements for any of these writs. Therefore, the Court had no jurisdiction to consider his claims and the claims were dismissed.