Certiorari Proceedings Do Not Divest a Trial Court of Jurisdiction

It’s a common misconception that certiorari proceedings in an appellate court affect the lower court’s jurisdiction much like an appeal does.  In fact, they have no effect on the lower court’s jurisdiction.

Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.600 describes the general rules regarding what jurisdiction the lower tribunal retains once an appeal is filed.  But certiorari is an original proceeding–not an appeal–so this rule does not apply.

That the filing of a petition for certiorari has no effect on the lower tribunal’s jurisdiction is best captured in this quote from a Second District decision:

Certiorari is an original proceeding in this court. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.030(b)(3). It has no effect on the jurisdiction of the circuit court unless a stay of the proceedings is granted. Although Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130(f) specifically prohibits the circuit court’s entry of a final judgment during the appeal of a nonfinal order, no similar rule exists when a nonfinal order is challenged by way of certiorari.

Curry v. State, 880 So. 2d 751, 755-56 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004).

Can the trial court decide to stay a case if a party seeks certiorari review of a nonfinal order?  That would be within the trial court’s discretion in managing the case.  But the trial court is free to proceed, even to the entry of a final judgment that could moot the certiorari proceeding entirely.

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