CERTIORARI, practice. To be certified of; to be informed of. This is the name of a writ issued from a superior court directed to one of inferior jurisdiction, commanding the latter to certify and return to the former, the record in the particular case. Bac. Ab. h. t.; 4 Vin. Ab. 330; Nels. Ab. h. t.; Dane's Ab. Index, h. t.; 3 Penna. R. 24. A certiorari differs from a writ of error. There is a distinction also between a hab. corp. and a certiorari. The certiorari removes the cause; the hab. corp. only supersedes the proceedings in below. 2 Lord Ray. 1102.
2. By the common law, a supreme court has power to review the proceedings of all inferior tribunals, and to pass upon their jurisdiction and decisions on questions of law. But in general, the determination of such inferior courts on questions of fact are conclusive, and cannot be reversed on certiorari, unless some statute confers the power on such supreme court. 6 Wend. 564; 10 Pick. 358; 4 Halst. 209. When any error has occurred in the proceedings of the court below, different from the course of the common law, in any stage of the cause, either civil or criminal cases, the writ of certiorari is the only remedy to correct such error, unless some other statutory remedy has been given. 5 Binn. 27; 1 Gill & John. 196; 2 Mass. R. 245; 11 Mass. R. 466; 2 Virg. Cas. 270; 3 Halst. 123; 3 Pick. 194 4 Hayw. 100; 2 Greenl. 165; 8 Greenl. 293. A certiorari, for example, is the correct process to remove the proceedings of a court of sessions, or of county commissioners in laying out highways. 2 Binn. 250 2 Mass. 249; 7 Mass. 158; 8 Pick. 440 13 Pick. 195; 1 Overt. 131; 2 Overt. 109; 2 Pen. 1038; 8 Verm. 271 3 Ham. 383; 2 Caines, 179.
3. Sometimes the writ of certiorari is used as auxiliary process, in order to obtain a full return to some other process. When, for example, the record of an inferior court is brought before a superior court by appeal, writ of error, or other lawful mode, and there is a manifest defect, or a suggestion of diminution, a certiorari is awarded requiring a perfect transcript and all papers. 3 Dall. R. 413; 3 John. R. 23; 7 Cranch, R. 288; 2 South. R. 270, 551; 1 Blackf. R. 32; 9 Wheat. R. 526; 7 Halst. R. 85; 3 Dev. R. 117; 1 Dev. & Bat. 382; 11 Mass. 414; 2 Munf. R. 229; 2 Cowen, R. 38. Vide Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.