A challenge to a previous legal determination. An appeal is directed towards a legal power higher than the power making the challenged determination. In most states and the federal system, trial court determinations can be appealed in appeals courts, and appeals court decisions can be appealed in a supreme court.
The person pursuing an appeal is called an appellant, while the person defending the lower court’s ruling is the appellee.
Appeals can be either discretionary or of right. An appeal of right is one that the higher court must hear, if the losing party demands it, while a discretionary appeal is one that the higher court may, but does not have to, consider. For example, in the federal system, there is an appeal of right from the District Court to the Court of Appeals, but appeals from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court are discretionary.
Appeals do not always originate from court decisions. In administrative law, people are often allowed to appeal, in court, the decisions made by executive agencies.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A written petition to a higher court to modify or reverse a decision of a lower court (either a trial court or intermediate level appellate court). An appeal begins when the loser at trial (called the appellant) files a notice of appeal within strict time limits (often 30 days from the date of judgment). The appellant and the appellee (the winner at trial) submit written arguments and often make oral arguments explaining why the lower court's decision should be upheld or overturned.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:11 pm