On Appeal

The AP&S Appellate Law Blog


There are two distinct procedural mechanisms for obtaining review by the Rhode Island Supreme Court.  The most common is the appeal, which may be taken as of right in circumstances prescribed by law.  See New Harbor Village, LLC v. Town of New Shoreham Zoning Bd., 894 A.2d 901, 907 (R.I. 2006).  The second is the petition for an extraordinary writ, which is discretionary and granted at the discretion of the Court.  Id.

The most common of the extraordinary writs is the common law petition for writ of certiorari.  As their name suggests, writs of certiorari are indeed extraordinary.  Last year, 62 petitions were filed with the Rhode Island Supreme Court seeking issuance of a writ of certiorari.  See Rhode Island Judiciary 2012 Annual Report, available at http://www.courts.ri.gov/PublicResources/annualreports/PDF/2012.pdf.  Of those, very few will be granted.  While the Court has unbridled discretion to issue the writ, it rarely exercises that discretion.  See New Harbor Village, LLC, 894 A.2d at 907.

About The Author

Nicole J. Benjamin

I am a shareholder and business litigator at AP&S. I help businesses and their legal departments achieve their objectives by reducing their liabilities, advising them on complex legal matters and defending unavoidable litigation in federal and state court.

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