What is a Writ of Mandamus?
In latin, mandamus means “we command.” In Pennsylvania we see that a Writ of Mandamus is filed in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Usually we file the Writ of Mandamus to ask the Superior Court to command the Court of Common Pleas to do something. The action being commanded is usually an administrative task or a command to follow a previous order.
For example, when you file an appeal the trial court must certify the lower court record. If you file an appeal, the briefing schedule is put out after the record is certified. Therefore, if the lower court never certifies the record, you never get to file your appeal. Kind of like a filibuster. Your remedy at common law is to file a writ of mandamus in the Superior Court, commanding the lower court to certify the record.