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Prerogative relief by way of mandamus lies to compel the performance of an unfulfilled public duty at the instance of a person having a sufficient interest in its performance.
Mandamus requires the performance of a public duty or the exercise of a discretion according to law.It is a command that the duty be performed, with no direction on the manner of its performance. Mandamus is not available to enforce private duties,and does not lie against the Crown unless the decision-maker is acting as a designated person or a Minister.
Applicants have standing to seek mandamus if the duty is owed to them and performance of the duty is for their benefit. Outside this class, applicants may have standing if they can demonstrate a special interest.
Applications for mandamus commonly arise in respect of immigration and planning decisions.
The High Court has original jurisdiction in all matters in which a writ of mandamus or prohibition or an injunction is sought against an officer of the Commonwealth under s 75(v) of the Constitution.
The Federal court of Australia has original jurisdiction to issue mandamus pursuant to s 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth).
The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia routinely exercises jurisdiction to issue mandamus in migration matters.
In matters of State law the Supreme Courts of each state are empowered to issue either a writ of mandamus or an order in the nature of mandamus in matters of state administration.