To many legal practitioners the writ of prohibition remains an enigma. Seldom used and even less often understood, this extraordinary remedy at law has long been recognized in Virginia as a tool with which to restrain an offending court from unwarranted conduct. Used properly, the writ will encourage the due and regular administration of justice by confining each tribunal to the exercise of those powers with which it has been entrusted under the constitution and laws of the state. The writ has been defined by the Virginia Supreme Court as "a proceeding between two courts-a superior and an inferior-and is the means whereby the superior exercises its due superintendence over the inferior, and keeps it within the limits and bounds of the jurisdiction prescribed to it by law." Common law provided for this extraordinary remedy and most states, including Virginia, have expressly granted their high courts jurisdiction over proceedings in prohibition.
David W. Clarke,
Prohibition: The Elusive and Misunderstood Writ,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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