Instant Court Case Lookup

The following is for information purposes only


What Is an Appeal?

An appeal is a process where if one party loses a court case, they can "appeal" to a judge or panel of judges to have the case reviewed and possibly overturned.

An appeal becomes an option when someone loses a trial court or district court case. After losing they can ask a higher court such as the appellate court or Supreme Court to review the trial court's decision. In almost every case, the court of appeals looks at two main things. These include:

  • Whether or not the judicial branch made a legal mistake.
  • Whether or not that mistake changed the final decision in the case.

The appellate court evaluates what happened in the trial court, which helps establish any mistakes in the trial court. This includes reviewing if the case applied the correct law.

The appeal justices cannot change the trial court's decision if they disagree with it. Instead, the justices must hear the evidence and come to their own decision. The justices can overturn the verdict if they determine that there was a mistake made during the initial trial.

Due to the difficulty in finding and proving this type of mistake, it is relatively uncommon to win an appeal.

Criminal and civil orders in the High Court, State Court, Supreme Court, Federal Court, and Magistrates Courts are appealable.

What Is The Appellate Procedure?

Every appeal goes through a similar process. There are five main appeal process steps in the court system.

Hiring an appellate attorney (before the appeal)

Hiring an attorney who is not aware of the appellate procedure could affect the chances of securing appellate rights.

Filing the notice of appeal.

The first step in an appeal is to file a Notice of Appeal or Application for Leave to Appeal. When filing the notice of appeal, the appellant should pay the district clerk's all the required fees. The district clerk receives the payments on behalf of the appellate court.

The person requesting the appeal must file the notice of appeal within 30 days after judgment. If the 30-day period has passed, one must place a request with the court for an extension in the appeal.

Preparing the record on appeal.

An appeal record is a bound book containing filed copies of the initiating documents, order, and reasons for judgment on the case. The deadline for filing and serving an appeal record is 60 days. An appeal record contains vital documents about the hearing.

Researching and writing the appeal.

The grounds for the appeal must be clearly noted on the notice of appeal form. It must also include the reasons for the appeal (unreasonable verdict, error of law, or miscarriage of justice).

An appeal letter needs to be courteous and straightforward. This ensures a reconsideration of a final judgment or decision that the court rules.

Oral argument

An oral argument is a chance to explain the statement made in brief. It helps to clarify the essential points and makes it easier to answer questions from the court.

After an appeal, the judge will decide based on all of the new evidence and information presented in the case.

What Are The Reasons For Appealing a Conviction?

A conviction appeal aims not to retry a case or create a new trial. One can ask the court to review the evidence to determine whether a guilty verdict is appropriate. There are three reasons why an appeal court may set aside a conviction, they are:

  • The verdict was unreasonable or the evidence presented did not adequately support the verdict. This tactic attempts to prove the weakness of the evidence.
  • The judge made an error of law. If a mistake of law occurs, the conviction is set aside. An error or law may include wrongful admission of evidence, an incorrect interpretation of the law, or a misdirection to the jury on a crucial question.
  • There was a miscarriage of justice. If the appeal court decides there is a miscarriage of justice, the conviction will be overruled. Examples include a biased jury member or a judge refusing to provide an interpreter for an accused person whose first language is not English.

Who Can Appeal A Case?

Any losing party has the right to appeal. This right must be in effect as it ensures that if a judge happens to make an error of law or fact, the means exist to correct it. The right of appeal has two distinct functions, one private and one public.

  • The private function provides accountability to each individual.
  • The public function maintains and enhances citizens' confidence in the justice system and may set precedence for future cases.

What Are The Different Contexts That Have Right of Appeal?

  • Criminal cases. There may be an appeal against conviction or sentence by the appellee.
  • Family cases. There may be an appeal against the judge's decision to place a child into the system, allow custody of a child to one parent and not the other, or decide how marital assets are divided during a divorce.
  • Civil cases. This includes an appeal against a judge's determination of a contractual dispute, a boundary dispute, or a claim for personal compensation.
  • There may be an appeal against decisions of a judge's ruling. This includes challenges by citizens to the findings of public authorities. For example, challenges to the accessibility of medicines. Other examples are objections to planning authorities' decisions, such as those to do with houses, roads, or motorways.
  • Judges make procedural decisions in every part of the justice system. This includes allowing or disallowing specific testimony to be brought before the court, whether or not to require a declaration of particular evidence, or whether or not to concede an adjournment are also conditional on appealing.