A party affected by governmental action or inaction in response to a public health emergency may choose to challenge the action or inaction in court by means of a writ of prohibition or a writ of mandamus. The writs may be issued by any court, except district or municipal courts, to an inferior tribunal, or to a corporation, board or person. There must be an absence of an adequate remedy at law, and the application for the writ must be based on affidavit of a person beneficially interested. RCW 7.16.170, .300. Except as otherwise provided in chapter
7.16 RCW, the rules of civil procedure apply to the writ proceedings. RCW 7.16.340.
1.41 Writ of Mandamus
A writ of mandamus may be issued by the court to compel the performance of an act which the law enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station. RCW 7.16.160. The writ of mandamus may be either alternative or peremptory. The alternative writ must state generally the allegation against the party to whom it is directed, and command such party immediately to do the act required to be performed or to show cause before the court at a specified time why the party has not done the act as commanded. The peremptory writ is in similar form, except the words requiring the party to show cause why (s)he has not done the act as commanded are omitted and a return date inserted. RCW 7.16.180. The writ is served in the same manner as a summons in a civil action, except when otherwise expressly directed by order of the court. RCW 7.16.270. Where the writ presents questions of fact that are essential to the determination of the motion, the court, in its discretion, may order the question tried before a jury, and postpone the argument until after the trial. The question to be tried must be distinctly stated in the order for trial. RCW 7.16.210.
1.42 Writ of Prohibition
A writ of prohibition is the counterpart of the writ of mandamus. It arrests the proceedings of any tribunal, corporation, board, or person, when such proceedings are without or in excess of the body’s jurisdiction. RCW 7.16.290. The writ of prohibition must be either alternative or peremptory. The alternative writ must state generally the allegations against the party to whom it is directed, and command such party to desist or refrain from further proceedings in the action or matter specified until further order of the court, and to show cause before the court at a specified time why the party should not be absolutely restrained from further proceedings in such action or matter. The peremptory writ is in similar form, except that the words requiring the party to show cause why (s)he should not be absolutely restrained, etc., must be omitted and a return date inserted. RCW 7.16.310. The provisions of chapter 7.16 RCW relating to a writ of mandamus apply to the proceedings for a writ of prohibition. RCW 7.16.320.