2021 Georgia Code
Title 9 - Civil Practice
Chapter 6 - Extraordinary Writs
Article 2 - Mandamus
§ 9-6-24. What Interest Required to Enforce Public Right

Universal Citation: GA Code § 9-6-24 (2021)

Where the question is one of public right and the object is to procure the enforcement of a public duty, no legal or special interest need be shown, but it shall be sufficient that a plaintiff is interested in having the laws executed and the duty in question enforced.

(Code 1933, § 64-104.)

Law reviews.

- For article, "A Taxing Exception: Southern LNG, Inc. v. MacGinnitie's Narrow Interpretation of the Mandamus Exception," see 66 Mercer L. Rev. 855 (2015). For annual survey of administrative law, see 67 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2015).


This section is general rule applicable in all instances where question is one of public right and the object is to procure the enforcement of a public duty. Head v. Browning, 215 Ga. 263, 109 S.E.2d 798 (1959) (see O.C.G.A. § 9-6-24).

Principle announced in this section is not confined to mandamus cases. Head v. Browning, 215 Ga. 263, 109 S.E.2d 798 (1959); City of East Point v. Weathers, 218 Ga. 133, 126 S.E.2d 675 (1962) (see O.C.G.A. § 9-6-24).

Mandamus compels performance only where officer's duty to act clear.

- Mandamus is an available legal remedy which may be employed only for the purpose of compelling an officer to perform a specific act where the officer's duty to do so is clear and well defined. Moore v. Robinson, 206 Ga. 27, 55 S.E.2d 711 (1949).

Citizen and taxpayer has an interest in performance of duty by public officers such as will authorize the maintenance of an action at law to compel by mandamus the performance of official duties. Colston v. Hutchinson, 208 Ga. 559, 67 S.E.2d 763 (1951).

A citizen and taxpayer of a municipality, without the necessity for showing any special injury, has standing to sue to prevent officials of the municipal corporation from taking actions or performing acts which they have no authority to do. League of Women Voters of Atlanta-Fulton County, Inc. v. City of Atlanta, 245 Ga. 301, 264 S.E.2d 859 (1980).

Citizen and taxpayer may challenge officials' refusal to vacate office.

- Where a citizen, taxpayer, and voter files a petition for the writ of mandamus against the mayor and councilmen of a municipality, asserting that they are extending their terms of office and are predicating their position upon the provisions of an Act of the General Assembly, the voter has such interest and right, and sustains such injury to the voter by the enforcement of terms of the Act, as to authorize the voter to attack the Act as being unconstitutional. Manning v. Upshaw, 204 Ga. 324, 49 S.E.2d 874 (1948).

Citizen challenging legality of salary increase ordinances.

- County citizen lacked standing to seek a declaratory judgment with respect to the claims challenging the legality of the salary ordinance as the citizen did not seek to enforce a public duty conferred by statute but rather sought to block the enforcement of an ordinance passed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 36-5-24; thus, O.C.G.A. § 9-6-24 did not confer a citizen standing to challenge the validity of acts authorized by the statute or to attack the constitutionality of the statute. Williams v. DeKalb County, 308 Ga. 265, 840 S.E.2d 423 (2020).

Citizens suit seeking performance of public duty in completing park.

- Citizens who challenged the use of Special Local Option Sales Tax funds had standing to seek a writ of mandamus under O.C.G.A. § 9-6-24 as the citizens alleged that governmental entities failed to perform their public duty of completing a park that was allegedly promised to voters. Rothschild v. Columbus Consol. Gov't, 285 Ga. 477, 678 S.E.2d 76 (2009).

Zoning ordinances and determinations do not confer public right to the extent that they can be attacked by anyone interested in having the laws executed and the duty in question enforced. Tate v. Stephens, 245 Ga. 519, 265 S.E.2d 811 (1980).

Tenant who held a usufruct under a lease did not have standing to seek equitable relief from a zoning determination involving the leased property. The Stuttering Foundation, Inc. v. Glynn County, 301 Ga. 492, 801 S.E.2d 793 (2017).

Party must have special interest in order to attack or enforce zoning determination. Tate v. Stephens, 245 Ga. 519, 265 S.E.2d 811 (1980).

No standing under O.C.G.A.

§ 9-6-24 if not for enforcement of a public duty. - Appellant's petition for writ of mandamus did not meet the necessary prerequisites for appellant to exercise standing under O.C.G.A. § 9-6-24 where the petition did not seek to procure the enforcement of a public duty, rather, it sought to compel an action to correct what appellant believed to be the wrongful filing of uncertified tax liens under O.C.G.A. § 44-14-572. Brissey v. Ellison, 272 Ga. 38, 526 S.E.2d 851 (2000).

Existence of standing under the statute depended upon whether the appellees owed a public duty which appellants, as members of the public, were entitled to have enforced. Adams v. Ga. Dep't of Corr., 274 Ga. 461, 553 S.E.2d 798 (2001).

District attorney lacked standing to seek a writ of mandamus to prevent a sentencing panel from performing its official duties, based on an allegation that the legislation pursuant to which it acted was unconstitutional; the panel did not have a public duty, enforceable by means of a writ of mandamus, to initiate and pursue litigation which challenged the constitutionality of its statutory authority to reduce certain criminal sentences, however, the district attorney did have standing to seek an injunction preventing the enforcement of former O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6 on constitutional grounds. Moseley v. Sentence Review Panel, 280 Ga. 646, 631 S.E.2d 704 (2006).

Ultra vires activity by municipality established.

- Participants, pension board members, and advocates were authorized to file a declaratory judgment action seeking injunctive relief on behalf of municipal pension funds against the City of Atlanta, as the participants, members, and advocates alleged ultra vires conduct by the city under O.C.G.A. § 9-6-24; the refusal by the city to recognize, implement, or cooperate with the pension boards' decisions to hire a third party administrator and an outside counsel fell outside the scope of the city's lawful powers because Georgia law did not grant the city authority to approve these decisions by the pension board. City of Atlanta v. S. States Police Benevolent Ass'n, 276 Ga. App. 446, 623 S.E.2d 557 (2005).

Taxpayer could seek to compel state revenue commissioner to accept tax returns.

- In a gas company's suit against the state revenue commissioner for mandamus compelling the commissioner to accept its property tax returns under O.C.G.A. §§ 48-1-2(21) and48-5-511(a), remand was proper to determine if the company had an acceptable alternative remedy in its pending county tax appeals under O.C.G.A. § 48-5-311, as required by O.C.G.A. § 9-6-20, if the commissioner could be made a party to those appeals by joinder or some other procedure. Southern LNG, Inc. v. MacGinnitie, 294 Ga. 657, 755 S.E.2d 683 (2014).

Cited in Thomas v. Ragsdale, 188 Ga. 238, 3 S.E.2d 567 (1939); Screws v. City of Atlanta, 189 Ga. 839, 8 S.E.2d 16 (1940); City of Atlanta v. Screws, 194 Ga. 214, 21 S.E.2d 424 (1942); Manning v. Upshaw, 204 Ga. 324, 49 S.E.2d 874 (1948); Heard v. Pittard, 210 Ga. 549, 81 S.E.2d 799 (1954); Mabry v. Shikany, 223 Ga. 513, 156 S.E.2d 364 (1967); Fountain v. Suber, 225 Ga. 361, 169 S.E.2d 162 (1969); Merry v. Williams, 281 Ga. 571, 642 S.E.2d 46 (2007); Deal v. Coleman, 294 Ga. 170, 751 S.E.2d 337 (2013); SJN Props., LLC v. Fulton County Bd. of Assessors, 296 Ga. 793, 770 S.E.2d 832 (2015).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 52 Am. Jur. 2d, Mandamus, § 43.


- 55 C.J.S., Mandamus, §§ 47, 48.


- Mandamus to compel enrollment or restoration of pupil in state school or university, 39 A.L.R. 1019.

Determination of canvassing boards or election officials as regards counting or exclusion of ballots as subject of review by mandamus, 107 A.L.R. 618.

Remedies to compel municipal officials to enforce zoning regulations, 35 A.L.R.2d 1135.

Private citizen's right to institute mandamus to compel a magistrate or other appropriate official to issue a warrant, or the like, for an arrest, 49 A.L.R.2d 1285.

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