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Review is the judicial consideration of a lower court judgment by an appellate court, determining if the lower court’s opinion is based on legal errors, or in some cases serious factual errors, sufficient to require reversal. If not, the appellate court will affirm the ruling. Depending on the type of judgment and lower court, courts will apply different standards of review. Generally, when appellate courts review trial level courts, their review is de novo—i.e. they do not defer to the lower court’s findings. However, federal Circuit Courts defer to administrative agency findings of law in what is known as Chevron deference, and they defer to agency findings of fact under the standards set forth under Administrative Procedure Act. When lower courts have discretion to act on an issue, an appellate court will apply an abuse of discretion standard.

[Last updated in December of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]