King's Bench jurisdiction

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King's Bench jurisdiction or King's Bench power is the extraordinary jurisdiction of an individual state's highest court over its inferior courts. In the United States, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma and Wisconsin[1] use the term to describe the extraordinary jurisdiction of the highest court, called the Court of Appeals in New York or the Supreme Court in the other states, over the courts below it. King's Bench jurisdiction includes the power to vacate the judgments of inferior courts when acting in extraordinary circumstances, for example, where the importance of an issue to public well-being or the expediency with which action must be taken in the interest of justice requires superseding normal judicial or appellate procedures. Federal courts in the United States possess the power to issue similar extraordinary writs under the All Writs Act. The term originates from an English common law term of a similar name.

For an example of King's Bench jurisdiction, see the "Kids for cash" scandal.


  1. ^ "AOPC Chief Counsel Testifies on “King's Bench” Authority as an Important Safety Valve". Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. August 3, 1995. Retrieved 2009-08-27.