Can a Mandamus Writ Be Used to Control a Public Official's Exercise of Discretion ?
Mandamus does not lie to compel a body or a public official vested with discretionary power or authority to use it in a particular manner. See Hughie v. Horn, 730 A.2d 1042 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1999).
It is clear that mandamus is appropriate only to compel a government body or a public official to perform a discretionary act when such government body or public official has a legally mandated duty to perform that act and has refused to do so. Id.
In Williams v. Worley, 847 A.2d 134 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004), this Court articulated the settled principle that a writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy and one that may be issued to compel the performance of a ministerial act or a mandatory duty when a clear right exists in the plaintiff, a corresponding duty exists in the defendant and no other appropriate or adequate remedy is available.
A mandamus writ cannot be used to control a public official's exercise of his or her discretion or judgment. Id.