CPLR Article 78 Toolkit

Resources to assist attorneys in litigating a special proceeding under Article 78 of New York's Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) in New York State Supreme Court (the state's trial court of general jurisdiction). Parties use Article 78 proceedings to obtain relief previously available under the common law writs of mandamus, certiorari, and prohibition, especially judicial review of administrative determinations or actions.

Practical Law Litigation

Article 78 of New York's Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) replaces the common law writs of mandamus ( www.practicallaw.com/6-507-0674) , certiorari ( www.practicallaw.com/9-508-3731) , and prohibition with special proceedings. Parties typically bring these proceedings to obtain judicial review of administrative action, such as decisions to grant, deny, or revoke a professional license, a zoning variance, or permission to live in subsidized housing. Parties also bring Article 78 proceedings to compel or prohibit government action, for example, to require dismissal of a criminal prosecution or termination of a regulatory investigation.

Special proceedings are something of a hybrid between a civil action and a motion. Like actions, special proceedings require pleadings and service of process. They receive their own index numbers and terminate in a final judgment. However, as with motions, the court normally decides special proceedings based on the parties' papers and any oral argument. Trial is possible but rare. There is normally no discovery. Motions, other than motions to dismiss the petition, are uncommon.

This Toolkit contains resources to assist attorneys with the procedures in an Article 78 proceeding, including:

  • Drafting the papers needed to commence a proceeding.

  • Filing and serving the petition and accompanying documents.

  • Responding to a petition by moving to dismiss or answering.

  • Replying to the answer, if required.

  • Taking discovery, if applicable.

  • Arguing the proceeding.

  • Trying the proceeding, if necessary.

  • Appealing the judgment, if necessary.


Practice Notes


Standard Documents

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