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FAQ - Appealing to an Appellate Court

Is a special action different from an appeal?

Yes. A special action is the name Arizona gives for the traditional writs of certiorari, mandamus, and prohibition. Special actions can be brought in superior court or in an appellate court. Appellate special action relief is not available when there is an adequate remedy by appeal. Only certain questions can be raised in a special action, such as whether the respondent has proceeded without legal authority. As a result, the great majority of special actions are either dismissed, or the Court of Appeals declines to accept jurisdiction of them. Challenges to Industrial Commission awards in workers compensation matters are also called special actions because they are made so by statute.