How to appeal a civil case

A party who wishes to appeal a district court’s final decision or an interlocutory order specified in 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a) can obtain a Notice of Appeal form from the district court and must file the Notice of Appeal in the district court within 30 days after the entry of the judgment or order being appealed. When the United States or its officer or agency is a party, the notice of appeal must be filed by any party within 60 days after the entry of the judgment or order being appealed.

If a party files one of the following motions in district court, and does so within the time allowed by those rules,the time to file an appeal runs from the entry of the order determining the last of the motions:

  • for judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b);
  • to amend or make additional factual findings under Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(b);
  • for attorney’s fees under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54 if the district court extends the time to appeal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 58;
  • to alter or amend the judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59;
  • for a new trial under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59;
  • for relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60 if the motion is filed no more than 28 days after the judgment is entered.

A party must promptly notify this Court when the party has filed one of the above motions in the district court. Within 14 days of the district court disposing of the last of any of the above motions, the party who filed the motion(s) must notify this Court that the district court has acted on the motion(s).

A Notice of Appeal filed after the decision or order is announced but before it is entered is treated as filed on the day of entry. A Notice of Appeal filed after the entry of judgment but before the last of the motions described above is decided is treated as filed when the order determining the last of the motions is entered. FRAP 4(a)(4).

A party that seeks to challenge an order determining a motion listed above must file the notice of appeal, or an amended notice of appeal, in compliance with FRAP 3(c). The time to file runs from the entry of the order deciding the last of the motions listed above.

Only the district court can extend the time to file a notice of appeal. The circumstances when an extension can be granted are set forth in FRAP 4(a)(5) and 4(a)(6).

In most civil cases, whether family court rulings, debt or employment claims, or commercial cases, the outcome is uncertain. This means the parties in a civil dispute are often anxious to know whether they can appeal if they lose the case.

If someone loses their case, they may then have to consider whether or not to appeal. An appeal is where the losing party asks the court to reconsider the ruling of the lower court – either in whole or in part.

Some appeals can be brought as of right because there is an automatic right to appeal. However, most decisions can be appealed only with the court’s permission. This is called ‘leave of the court’.

What is the civil appeals framework?

Rulings of county court district judges may be appealed to county court circuit judges, and if further appeal is required – to the Court of Appeal.

Initial rulings of the county court circuit judges are appealed to the High Court.

Initial rulings of the High Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal and, from there, to the Supreme Court. Appeals to the Supreme Court invariably need the permission of either the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

Appeals from the Upper Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal are heard by the Court of Appeal.

What are the time limits for bringing an appeal?

An appeal is started by filing an appeal notice which must be done within 21 days of the date of the decision of the lower court (unless the lower court has directed a different period in which to bring the appeal). Once an appeal notice has been filed, it must be served on each respondent as soon as practicable, and in any event, within seven days after being filed.

When is leave to appeal required?

With three minor exceptions, leave (permission) is required to bring an appeal. The exceptions where decisions may be appealed without permission are those from:

  • Committal orders;
  • A refusal to grant habeas corpus, and;
  • Secure accommodation orders under section 25 of the Children Act 1989.

The test that must be satisfied before permission is granted is whether the court considers the appeal would have a real prospect of success; or there is some other compelling reason why the appeal should be heard. For instance, an issue of law may need clarifying so permission to appeal is granted.

What’s the process of appealing?

Unless the appeal court orders otherwise, the appellant’s appeal notice must be served on any respondents (as stated above). Skeleton arguments are required for all civil appeals. A skeleton argument sets out the appellant’s case, and is the appellant’s opportunity to show the judges the merits of their case, using reasoned justification for asking the court to reconsider the initial ruling.

A copy of the appellant’s skeleton argument must be served at the same time as the appeal notice, unless this is impracticable (in which case it should be served within 14 days of filing the notice). Any other relevant documents must also be served on the respondent, for instance, a chronology of events.

Generally, no response is required from the respondent until permission is granted. The purpose of this is to ensure the respondent is informed of any landmarks in the appeal process.

Note that initiating an appeal does not have the automatic effect of staying execution on the judgment or order under appeal. You would need to make an application for a stay of judgment pending the appeal.

What happens at the hearing, and any appeal hearing?

There may not be a hearing, as the application can often be dealt with administratively instead. If leave is granted, an appeal hearing will be set. It is important to understand that an appeal is not a re-hearing, it is a review of the decision made.

In most cases, the appeal court will allow an appeal only where the decision of the lower court was wrong in law or on the facts; or it was seriously unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity in the proceedings in the lower court.

The court can either refuse the appeal, or uphold, set aside or vary the initial order or judgment, or even refer any claim or issue back to the lower court or tribunal. It can also order a new trial or hearing if necessary. In addition, the appeal court can make a costs order for payment of interest, and make costs orders.

Can fresh evidence be produced to the appeal court?

The appeal court can receive fresh evidence, but only if it is satisfied that such evidence:

  • Could not have been obtained with reasonable diligence for use at the hearing;
  • Would probably have an important influence on the result of the case, and;
  • Is apparently credible.

Where there is fresh evidence, a new trial could be ordered.

Lucy graduated in law from the University of Greenwich, and is also an NCTJ trained journalist. A legal writer and editor with over 20 years&#39 experience writing about the law.

Civil Court



Court Judgements

We try our very best to keep everything on this site accurate and up-to-date, but the law changes quite a bit and we’ve got over 1,300 pages to keep an eye on. As such, we can’t guarantee everything is 100% accurate. So please don’t treat it as legal advice or rely on the information. You should take legal advice from a solicitor where appropriate. If you spot anything that looks incorrect, please drop us an email, and we’ll get it sorted!

Civil cases usually involve private disputes between persons or organisations, such as, disputes involving accidents or breaches of contract.

Before commencing proceedings in your civil case, you should get legal advice. You can learn more about accessing civil legal aid and advice and browse contact information for solicitors firms throughout Ireland.

To enquire whether you are eligible for legal aid or advice, contact your nearest law centre. You can also contact your nearest Citizens Information Centre for information on FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) services in your area.

To commence proceedings, you must issue and serve a written court document called a writ or pleading.

Many cases do not get to court because they are settled in advance. Our settlement of claims document explains the issues surrounding settlements and lodgements.

After the court case, if you are unhappy with the outcome, you may be able to appeal the decision (see below).

Types of civil claim

There are various types of civil claims that you may take to court.

Many civil claims are personal injuries claims that are brought as a result of road traffic accidents, accidents at work and slipping or tripping and falling in a shop, on a road or in a public place. It is important to note that you cannot pursue a personal injuries action through the courts without first submitting your claim to the process.

You may have a claim based on breach of contract or based on a neighbour’s interference with your enjoyment of your property – nuisance claims.

Another type of case is a claim for damages as a result of defamation, that is, when a person’s reputation is injured as a result of the publication by any means, orally or in writing, of untruths about the person.

You may have a claim in relation to ownership of land or you may require the court to sort out arrangements in respect of marital breakdown.

In which court will my case be heard?

Whether your case is heard in the District Court, the Circuit Court or the High Court will depend on the value of your case, that is, how much you claim the defendant should pay you.

If you have been injured in an accident, the value of your case will be assessed by your legal representatives based on doctors’ reports about the nature and extent of your injuries and the prognosis for the future.

The District Court has power to award up to €15,000 in damages. The Circuit Court has power to award up to €75,000 in damages. The High Court has unlimited power to award damages.

It is important to note that, if your case is heard in Circuit Court and you are awarded less than €15,000 in damages, or in the High Court and you are awarded less than €75,000 in damages, you may be penalised in costs.

This means that even though you have won your case, you may be obliged to pay the extra costs incurred by both sides by having the case heard in the higher court.

Time limits for actions

The time limits for commencing proceedings are generally legislated for in the Statute of Limitations Act 1957. It says that:

  • A personal injuries claim must be commenced within 2 years of becoming aware that injuries were caused by another’s negligence or when you ought to have become aware of those facts
  • A claim based on nuisance, that is, where a person has interfered with your enjoyment of your property, must be brought within 6 years of the nuisance
  • A claim based on breach of contract must generally be brought within 6 years of the breach
  • A claim based on defamation must generally be brought within 1 year of the publication
  • Cases relating to land generally must be brought within 12 years

Appealing the decision in a civil case

If you are unhappy with the result of your case, you may wish to appeal your case to a higher court. You are normally limited to only one appeal of any decision made.

If your case was commenced in the District Court, it can be appealed to the Circuit Court. A case commenced in the Circuit Court may be appealed to the High Court. A High Court case may be appealed to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court in exceptional circumstances.

There are relatively strict time limits in place for lodging appeals and if you do intend to appeal, you should be aware of these timelines.

You may choose to appeal the original judge’s decision in its entirety, i.e., their decision on who was to blame and the damages awarded (if they were awarded). In this event, the appeal court may:

  • Agree with the decision of the original court and uphold it
  • Disagree with the decision of the original court and overturn it
  • Increase or decrease the amount of damages awarded

If you are happy with the decision made by the original judge in relation to who was at fault but unhappy with the amount of damages they have awarded, you may appeal the amount of damages awarded only. Then the appeal court may either increase or decrease the amount of damages awarded by the original judge.

It may be the case that you appeal against the level of damages awarded to you but the other side also appeal the decision that they must pay damages, or vice versa.

If you lose your appeal, you will likely have to pay the costs of both sides so any offers to settle made by the other side should be seriously considered.

Further information on appeals from the Circuit Court to the High Court is available on the Courts Service website, including appeals from the District Court to the Circuit Court and appeals from the Circuit Court to the High Court.

If you are appealing a lower court’s decision in a civil case, you must pay a fee to the Appeals Court within 14 days of receiving the notice from the lower court clerk in order to have your case entered into the Appeals Court’s docket. The docket fee is $300 per appealing party. Thus, if you and your spouse are both appealing, the fee is $600. The Appeals Court will accept payment in cash, check or money order, by credit card, or via Please note that if you electronically enter your appeal via, the provider will charge you a separate convenience fee. Any bank check or money order is made payable to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts” or “Massachusetts Appeals Court.” You may pay in person or mail your payment.

If you are not able to pay the docketing fee because you are indigent you may file a Motion to Waive the docket fee along with an affidavit of indigency. The affidavit is available online or you may come to the Clerk’s Office to fill out the Motion to Waive and the affidavit.

It is very important that your payment (or your Motion to Waive with affidavit of indigency attached) is either received in the Clerk’s Office within 14 days following your receipt of the record assembly notice or, if mailed, is accompanied by a certificate attesting that the day of mailing was within 14 days of receipt of the notice of assembly. Failure to docket your appeal within the 14-day deadline will require the filing of a motion, with an additional filing fee required, asking a single justice of the Appeals Court to permit your appeal to be docketed late.

After you docket your appeal, or after it is automatically entered, the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office will send each party a Notice of Entry with an Appeals Court docket number. This number will not be the same as your trial court docket number. You will be required to include this docket number on each document filed with the Appeals Court. If you call the Clerk’s Office with questions about your case, you will be asked to provide this docket number.

The Notice of Entry includes important information about how your case will proceed in the Appeals Court. Read it carefully. Review the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure (Mass.R.A.P.), which will govern the progress of your case in the Appeals Court.

Entry of Petitions in the Single Justice Session

Depending on which statute governs, some filings to the single justice require a $315 fee or a motion to waive the fee and affidavit of indigency, and others do not require a fee.

Using to Enter an Appeal or Single Justice Case

The Appeals Court’s Guide to Electronic Filing page contains step by step instructions explaining how to enter a civil appeal or single justice case both for paying the fee and moving to waive the fee, and information about the Civil Appeals Entry Form. See the following guides:

VIII. What can I do if I lose the case (how to appeal)?

A party (either the plaintiff or the defendant) in a civil case who is not satisfied with a decision of a judge in the District Court can apply to that judge for leave (permission) to appeal. The party must do so within 28 days from the date on which the judgment or order of the Court was sealed or otherwise finalized. If the judge refuses to grant the permission to appeal, the party may apply to the Court of Appeal for that permission. The application must be made within 14 days from the date of the judge’s refusal.

No prior permission to appeal is required for cases which were previously heard in the Court of First Instance of the High Court (except for appeals concerned solely with the question of legal costs). The appeal must be lodged within 28 days from the date on which the judgment or order of the Court was sealed or otherwise finalized.

After permission is granted, or when there is a right of appeal without the need to seek prior permission, the appellant (i.e. the party making the appeal) should:

  • file a Notice of Appeal (a sample notice can be downloaded from the Judiciary website) with the trial court and at the same time serve a copy of the Notice on the other party (the appellant should try to deliver this Notice to the other party by hand);
  • lodge with the Registrar a sealed copy (bearing a court’s chop) of the judgment or order appealed from and two copies of the Notice of Appeal, one of which shall be endorsed with the amount of the court fee paid, and the other endorsed with a date of service of the notice;
  • Notice of setting down (fixing the hearing date) must be given to all parties on whom the Notice of Appeal was served within 4 days after an appeal has been set down; and
  • make an application to fix a date for the hearing of an appeal to the Registrar of Civil Appeals (application forms are available at the Clerk of Court’s Office in the High Court). The application to fix a date for the hearing of an appeal should also include the appellant’s estimate as to the length of the hearing. If the appellant does not apply to fix a date for the hearing of an appeal within a reasonable time, the respondent (i.e. the party opposing the appeal) may make such an application.

After application has been made to fix a date for the hearing of an appeal, the Registrar of Civil Appeals will instruct the Clerk of Court to fix a date for the hearing. The parties will be notified in writing.

Cases are heard by the Court of Appeal , comprising normally three, sometimes two, Justices of Appeal.

An appeal to the Court of Appeal is by way of a rehearing. This means that the Court will rehear the case based on the documents. It considers the materials which were before the judge below (i.e. the judge of the lower court in which the case was first heard) and decides whether the judgment being appealed against is wrong.

But normally speaking, the witnesses who had given oral evidence in the previous trial will not be called back to give their evidence again at the appeal hearing.

In the hearing of an appeal to the Court of Appeal, the appellant addresses the court first, followed by the respondent. The appellant has the right to reply to the respondent’s arguments.

After hearing arguments from both parties, the Court of Appeal will pass a judgment either immediately after the hearing on a later date. The losing party will normally be ordered to pay the winning party’s legal costs in the appeal (and possibly the costs for the previous trial).

It should be noted that comprehensive directions for the conduct of the civil business of the Court of Appeal are provided in Practice Direction 4.1 (Civil Appeals to the Court of Appeal).

Generally, appeals involve further arguments on the relevant legal points and a layman is not in a position to handle that type of argument. You should try to appoint a lawyer to deal with your appeal case.

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What is the process for appealing a trial court’s decision?

Updated at September 24th, 2021

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Table of Contents

An appeal in a civil trial is when a party at trial loses and petitions the appropriate appellate court to review:

  1. the trial court’s processes and procedures,
  2. whether the law was applied correctly, and
  3. whether the law (as applied) is Constitutional.

What is the process and procedure for appealing (appeal) the verdict in a civil trial?

The losing party in a case must file a request or notice of appeal with the trial court.

This request allows the party to undertake the appeals procedure with the immediate appellate court.

The request for appeal will generally include the grounds for appeal (allegations as to how the law was incorrectly applied or that the law is unconstitutional) and the record of trial.

The appellate court will review and either grant or deny the request.

If the court grants the appeal, the parties are allowed to file a brief in support of their position regarding the issues presented on appeal.

The appellate hearing generally consists of 3-5 judges sitting together (en banc) to hear the parties’ arguments.

In rare cases, all of the appellate judges will sit to hear a case.

At the appellate hearing, counsel for each party is allowed to present an oral argument in support of her client’s position.

The appellate court will take the briefs and arguments under consideration and deliberate on the case.

The judges will then render an opinion as to the application of the law in the case and, sometimes, the constitutionality of the law.

The appellate court’s written opinion about these matters becomes a part of the common law and serves as precedent for the future application of that law by subordinate courts.

If the court finds that the trial court erred in the application of law, the trial court’s decision (or part of the decision) will be reversed and remanded for further action.

The parties opposing the appellate court decision may request an immediate appeal to the higher appellate court (generally the State or US Supreme Court).

If the appeal is granted, the appellate procedure repeats itself.

If the case is remanded to the trial court and the parties do not immediately appeal the appellate court’s decision, they may then re-litigate the issues that are remanded.

At that point, the process repeats itself.

Related Topics

Discussion Question

How do you feel about the system for requesting an appeal of a trial court decision? Why do you think the appellate procedure limits the information considered by the appellate court to the information in the record of trial? Do you think the appellate court should review the evidence again (such as hearing testimony from witnesses).

  • Its not uncommon to find varying opinions on the appellate court system and procedure. Some find the procedure unnecessarily limiting, while others feel that it causes unnecessary delay in the administration of justice. Generally, the appellate procedure limits the information considered by the appellate court to the information in the record of trial. There is a process for reviewing the faces anew. His process is known as, de novo review; but, it is used in rare circumstances.

Practice Question

Mark is suing his former employer in state court for discriminatory firing. He loses his case at trial and immediately appeals to the state appellate court. What is the general process for requesting appeal? What will the court look for in deciding whether or not to grant an appeal? Under what situations could Mark appeal to the state and US Supreme Court?

A civil judgment is the court’s formal, written decision in a lawsuit and reflects the outcome. To avoid the judgment’s effect, the losing party must ask a court to overturn the judgment. A judgment may be overturned on an appeal, by a trial court granting a new trial, striking the judgment or correcting it. These methods are distinguished by when the losing party must request the judgment be overturned, whether an appellate or trial court makes the decision and the grounds for overturning the judgment.


How to appeal a civil case

A civil judgment may be overturned on appeal if there is no factual or legal basis for the judgment, the trial court did not follow the law or the trial judge wrongly allowed or kept out evidence. The appeals court can only consider the facts and papers presented to the trial court and legal arguments. Witnesses do not testify. The parties may not retry the case or present new evidence. Generally, appeals must be started within 30 days after the judgment.

Request a New Trial

A losing party may obtain a new trial because of legal errors, misconduct by the jury or the winning party, new evidence or significant mistakes by the losing party’s lawyer. The court may consider only the evidence at trial, unless the losing party claims juror misconduct, new evidence or some other reason that does not appear in the trial record. In most states, the party has 10 days after the judgment to request a new trial.

Setting Aside the Judgment

A court may undo a judgment when the losing party is prevented from adequately defending a lawsuit, the court had no authority to enter the judgment or the losing party has paid the debt in full. The court may set aside judgments, whether or not they result from a trial. Typically, the defendant — the party sued — claims that the opposing party misled the defendant into not answering a lawsuit, favorable evidence was hidden or that the attorney made mistakes for which the defendant is not responsible. A defendant who was prevented from answering the lawsuit must show that a defense existed.

Correcting a Judgment

A trial court may correct a judgment that does not reflect the judge’s decision. Clerical errors include writing the wrong amount and math errors. The trial court may not correct legal errors in a judgment. The losing party must timely appeal or ask a trial court for a new trial to address errors of law.

A popular misconception is that cases are always appealed. Not often does a losing party have an automatic right of appeal. There usually must be a legal basis for the appeal an alleged material error in the trial not just the fact that the losing party didn t like the verdict.

In a civil case, either party may appeal to a higher court. In a criminal case, only the defendant has a right to an appeal in most states. (Some states give the prosecution a limited right to appeal to determine certain points of law. These appeals usually occur before the actual trial begins. Appeals by the prosecution after a verdict are not normally allowed because of the prohibition in the U. S. Constitution against double jeopardy, or being tried twice for the same crime.)

Criminal defendants convicted in state courts have a further safeguard. After using all of their rights of appeal on the state level, they may file a writ of habeas corpus in the federal courts in an attempt to show that their federal constitutional rights were violated. The right of a federal review imposes the check of the federal courts on abuses that may occur in the state courts.

An appeal is not a retrial or a new trial of the case. The appeals courts do not usually consider new witnesses or new evidence. Appeals in either civil or criminal cases are usually based on arguments that there were errors in the trial s procedure or errors in the judge’s interpretation of the law.

Appeal Procedure

The party appealing is called the appellant, or sometimes the petitioner. The other party is the appellee or the respondent. The appeal is instituted with the filing of a notice of appeal. This filing marks the beginning of the time period within which the appellant must file a brief, a written argument containing that side’s view of the facts and the legal arguments upon which they rely in seeking a reversal of the trial court. The appellee then has a specified time to file an answering brief. The appellant may then file a second brief answering the appellee’s brief.

Sometimes, appeals courts make their decision only on the basis of the written briefs. Sometimes, they hear oral arguments before deciding a case. Often the court will ask that the case be set for oral argument, or one of the parties will request oral argument. At oral argument, each side’s attorney is given a relatively brief opportunity to argue the case to the court, and to answer questions posed by the judges. In the U.S. Supreme Court, for example, an hour is set for oral argument of most cases, which gives each side’s lawyers about half an hour to make their oral argument and answer questions. In the federal courts of appeals, the attorneys are often allotted less time than that – 10- or 15-minute arguments are common.

The appellate court determines whether errors occurred in applying the law at the lower court level. It generally will reverse a trial court only for an error of law. Not every error of law, however, is cause for a reversal. Some are harmless errors that did not prejudice the rights of the parties to a fair trial. For example, in a criminal case a higher court may conclude that the trial judge gave a legally improper instruction to the jury, but if the mistake were minor and in the opinion of the appellate court had no bearing on the jury’s finding, the appellate court may hold it a harmless error and let a guilty verdict stand. However, an error of law, such as admitting improper evidence, may be determined to be harmful and therefore reversible error.

After a case is orally argued or otherwise presented for judgment, the appeals court judges will meet in conference to discuss the case. Appellate courts often issue written decisions, particularly when the decision deals with a new interpretation of the law, establishes a new precedent, etc. At the conference, one judge will be designated to write an opinion. The opinion may go through several drafts before a majority of the court agrees with it. Judges disagreeing with the majority opinion may issue a dissenting opinion. Judges agreeing with the result of a majority decision but disagreeing with the majority’s reasoning may file a concurring opinion. Occasionally the appeals court will simply issue an unsigned opinion. These are called per curiam (by the court).

If the appeals court affirms the lower court’s judgment, the case ends, unless the losing party appeals to a higher court. The lower court decision also stands if the appeals court simply dismisses the appeal (usually for reasons of jurisdiction).

If the judgment is reversed, the appellate court will usually send the case back to a lower court ( remand it) and order the trial court to take further action. It may order that

  • a new trial be held,
  • the trial court’s judgment be modified or corrected,
  • the trial court reconsider the facts, take additional evidence, or consider the case in light of a recent decision by the appellate court.

In a civil case, an appeal doesn t ordinarily prevent the enforcement of the trial court’s judgment. The winning party in the trial court may order the judgment executed. However, the appealing party can file an appeal or supersedeas bond. The filing of this bond will prevent, or stay, further action on the judgment until the appeal is over by guaranteeing that the appealing party will pay or perform the judgment if it is not reversed on appeal.

If any party to a small/commercial claim; summary proceeding; civil action dispute believes that a City Court decision is legally incorrect; he/she may ask to have that determination reviewed by a judge of the County Court.

A Notice of Appeal is merely a written statement to the Court indicating your intention to proceed with an Appeal. The filing of the Notice of Appeal with the City Court is the first step; but is not, by any means, the Appeal itself. You will have an opportunity to provide the Appellate Court (County Court) with your written arguments only after the transcript of the court proceedings has been prepared and the City Court has filed the Return on Appeal (City Court file) with the Appellate Court.

Filing Fee: $30

  • You may incur additional expenses which will include, but not be limited to a filing fee with the City Court at the time of your Appeal. Other expenses may include the cost of preparing the transcript of the trial or hearing; and if you choose, the cost of hiring an attorney to represent you on the Appeal.
  • You may also be entitled to proceed as a poor person and have the costs of the transcripts paid for by the County and/or for assignment of an attorney for the Appeal. You will need to apply to the County Court for poor person status pursuant to CPLR Section 1101. If granted by the County Court, you will need to supply the City Court with the Order from the County Court.
  • To waive the filing fee, you will need to file a poor person application with the City Court.
  • In a small/commercial claims action, the earlier of the following starts the time to file a Notice of Appeal.
    1. 30 days if the Court serves the Notice of Judgment on the parties in Court or if one of the parties personally serves the Notice of Judgment on the other parties or
    2. 35 days if the Court mails the Notice of Judgment to the parties or if one of the parties mails the Notice of Judgment by mail to the other parties.
  • In other civil actions the time to file a Notice of Appeal with the City Court is generally 30 days from the date of entry of the judgment. Additionally, you will be bound by time limits to “perfect” your Appeal with the County Court.
  • Within thirty (30) days from the date of the decision, file (by mail or in person) an original written Notice of Appeal with the City Court that heard and decided the case. The Notice should contain the Caption of the Case, the Index Number associated with that case, and a statement that you (as the Appellant) intend to appeal the decision of the Court. You must also include your address and the address of the opposing party.
  • You must arrange to have a copy of the Notice of Appeal delivered upon the opposing party and the other party’s attorney before filing the Notice of Appeal with the Court. You must file the Notice of Appeal (original and copy) and an Affidavit of Service with the City Court along with the $30.00 filing fee payable to the court in which you are filing. This fee can be paid by certified check, money order, or cash and it is not refundable.

County Court has no authority to rehear your case, to retry your case, or to consider any facts other than those presented at the hearing. A Judge of the County Court is permitted only to review how the Judge in the City Court decided the matter; that is, whether the Judge in the City Court correctly applied the law between the parties. This very limited scope of review results in a reversal or modification of only those Judgments that clearly deviate from the substantive law, not those on which another Court might simply have gone the other way.

County Court cannot review any evidence that was not presented to the local court, nor except in a very rare case, will the County Court interfere with the credibility assessments made by the City Court.

Vacating a Judgment
If a Default Judgment was taken against you because you failed to appear for the City Court hearing, that Judgment cannot be appealed. You must make a Motion in City Court to vacate the Default Judgment. To make such a Motion, an Affidavit Under Oath must be prepared that states the reason why you failed to appear in Court on the scheduled date and clearly sets forth your defense to the claim. The accuracy of this Affidavit must be sworn to before a Notary Public and then provided to the other party. An Affidavit of Service by mail must be completed and filed with the Court to attest that the Motion Affidavit was served on the other party. If the Motion is denied, that denial can then be appealed.

Stay of Judgment
A pending Appeal does not prevent the prevailing party from taking steps to enforce the Judgment. You can seek a stay of the Judgment pending Appeal which involves filing an Undertaking (paying the amount of the judgment) with the City Court pending the determination of the Appeal.

Note: The Notice of Appeal cannot be served by a party to the action. Service must be made by a non-party who is 18 years of age or older (CPLR 2103(a)). In the event the opposing party is represented by an attorney, the Notice of Appeal must be served upon the opposing party AND the attorney for the opposing party. You must also file the Notice of Appeal with the County Court Clerk.

If there was a court reporter at the trial:
You must contact that reporter and request a Transcript of the trial. You must advise the court reporter that there is an Appeal pending in the City Court and the reporter is required to file an original Transcript with the City Court. If you wish to obtain a copy of the Transcript for your records, you must make those arrangements with the reporter.

The cost of the preparation of the Transcript (both the court’s original and any copy for your record) is solely your responsibility (unless you have been granted poor person status by the County Court pursuant to CPLR 1101). You must request a cost estimate of the Transcript before ordering the Transcript. The reporter may require an advance deposit before starting the Transcript and will require payment of the balance before releasing the Transcript.

Note: This is only an estimate and the actual cost may be less or more than the estimate.

If there was no court reporter at the trial:
The trial may have been taped on an audio cassette. If this is the case, you will need to make a written request to the City Court for the Transcript to be prepared. Your written request must contain the date(s) of the trial and the transcription service that you wish to use to prepare the Transcript. The Court Clerk will send the audio tape to the transcription service that you have selected.

It is your responsibility to pay for the cost of the two Transcripts (unless you have been granted poor person status by the County Court pursuant to CPLR 1101). You must file the original Transcript with the Court and keep one for yourself.

Note: If you do not wish to have a Transcript provided to you, you must notify the transcription service that only one Transcript is to be prepared and it must be sent to the Court. You should be aware that the Court will not provide you with a copy of the Transcript.

You must request a cost estimate of the Transcript before ordering the Transcript. The reporter may require an advance deposit before starting the Transcript and will require payment of the balance before releasing the Transcript.

How to appeal a civil case

After an unsuccessful outcome in a court in the State of Texas, you may be wondering – can a judgment be appealed?

The answer is yes, and with the help of a skilled attorney, you may discover that things are not quite as final as they seem.

In a broad view, an appeal is a request for the next higher level of court to review the lower court’s decision. Texas has a three-level court system, providing two levels of appeal. Appeals of final decisions of the county and district courts can be heard in one of Texas’ fourteen courts of appeal, with two locations in Houston and locations in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Texarkana, Amarillo, El Paso, Beaumont, Waco, Eastland, Tyler, and Corpus Christi.

The next level for all civil judgments (money judgments) is the Texas Supreme Court.

Can I Appeal a Judgment Against Me in Texas?

If you have lost your case in trial court, you may want to file an appeal as the appellant. Alternatively, if you won your case, you may find yourself caught up in an appeal filed by the losing party, under which circumstances you would be the appellee.

Either of these scenarios requires an extensive briefing of your position and organizing of exhibits. In short, appellate work can be complicated. The rules are highly technical, and deadlines are stringently enforced. Therefore, we strongly advise you to hire or consult with attorney Seth Kretzer, who is a seasoned litigator.

You can choose to represent yourself in Texas. However, be advised that if you choose to proceed without legal counsel and as a “pro se” litigant, you will be held to the same standards as licensed, experienced attorneys, such as the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (TRCP), Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure (TRAP), and any and all case law governing the grounds for appeal or defenses against appeal that you raise.

In order to be appealable, a judgment or order in a case must be “final.” With very few specifically enumerated exceptions, Texas law does not permit appeals from what are known as “interlocutory orders,” or orders made in the middle of the case which:

  1. Were not intended to dispose of all parties in a lawsuit;
  2. Were not intended to dispose of all claims in the lawsuit; or
  3. Was not designated final by the judge. See generally City of Beaumont v. Guilloroy, 751 S.W.2d 491, 492 (Tex. 1988) (per curiam) (citations omitted).

By contract, those orders which do fully and fairly dispose of all parties or claims, or are labeled final by the judge, are considered final for the purposes of mounting an appeal. See Farm Bur. Cty. Mut. Ins. v. Rogers, 455 S.W.3d 161, 163 (Tex. 2015); Lehmann v. Har-Con Corp., 39 S.W.3d 191, 192-93 (Tex. 2001).

How Long Do You Have to Appeal a Judgment?

How long do you have to appeal a judgment? This is an important answer to know before bringing your case to an attorney or proceeding pro se. A late appeal will subject your appeal to dismissal on grounds that the higher court does not have jurisdiction to hear your case.

As a general rule, the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure require a notice of appeal to be filed within 30 days of a final judgment or order signed by the judge, which may be extended to 90 days if a timely motion for a new trial is filed or a deadline-extending document, such as a motion to modify judgment or a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law, is filed. See TRAP 26.1. Deadline extensions of 15 days may be requested in certain circumstances.

For an accelerated appeal, such as an appeal from an interlocutory order, the deadline to file a notice of appeal is 20 days after the judgment or order was signed, and no extensions are available. See TRAP 26.1(b); TRAP 28.1 (a). In extenuating and rare circumstances, it may be possible to request an emergency appeal from the Court of Appeals.

How to File an Appeal on a Judgment in Texas

How to appeal a civil court judgment falls squarely within the knowledge of your attorney. Your attorney knows how to file an appeal on a judgment but before doing so will take a thorough look at your case, the court transcript, and all evidence to figure out whether any mistakes or errors occurred. Errors might include things like improperly-admitted evidence or objections that were incorrectly overruled or sustained. These types of substantive and procedural mistakes form the grounds for a valid appeal.

Your attorney will then draft the appeal and submit specific appeal documents to the court in conformance with the Rules of Appellate Procedure, pointing out all mistakes that were made and the reason the lower court decision should be reversed, overturned or remanded (sent back to the judge for a reconsideration).

Your appeal will likely be opposed by the victorious side in the litigation, whose victory has now been threatened. If there is opposition, your attorney will likely be required to appear before the judge and argue the merits of the motion in person.

Attorney Seth Kretzer Can Help with the Post-Judgment Process

If you wish to know if you can appeal a judgment rendered against you, and for more about how to appeal a judgment in the State of Texas, you will need a lawyer with specific experience with appeals and the appellate process.

The trial is over and judgment has been rendered. Whether yours was a civil or criminal case, if that judgment goes against you – resulting in a criminal sentence, a fine, or other adverse court order – you still have options.

First, of course, is the appeal. Simply put, if you lost your case, you have the right to appeal the decision. An appeal is the appellate court review process that can identify lower court errors or interpret or clarify applicable law. What are the possible results of successful appeals in Indiana? Typically, the lower court ruling could be set aside or overturned, and/or a new trial could be called for.

But appeals can often take months to be resolved. What happens in the meantime? If you were sentenced to prison, you would likely be required to begin serving your time. If you were directed to make financial restitution, you would probably have to do that before the appeal could go through the system. If the judgment would force you to sell your home, you would need to start that process right away. Scenarios like these could be right after the trial court ruling unless you could somehow put court orders on hold while your appeal is proceeding. The good news is that you can do just that (in most cases) by filing for a “motion for stay pending appeal.”

Defining a “Motion for Stay Pending Appeal”

Even if the verdict or judgment is unfair and your appeal ultimately succeeds, if you do not comply with the court’s ruling within the time frame directed by the court, you could be held in contempt. To potentially avoid this outcome and put the effects of the ruling on hold temporarily, you could seek a “stay” of the trial court’s order. Naturally, a “stay pending appeal” puts a pause on the commencement of sentencing and penalties while the appeal is in process.

Specifically, regarding appeals in Indiana, individuals seeking a stay pending appeal have two options for obtaining that stay. First, the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure grant a trial court judge the discretion to stay (that is, to delay) execution or enforcement of the order pending its appeal. For that to happen, the person seeking the stay must file a motion with the trial court that issued the order being appealed.

Beyond this first step, the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure allows an individual to seek a stay pending appeal directly with the Court of Appeals. The general rule for this option, however, is that before this request can be filed with the Court of Appeals, the motion for stay pending appeal must first be made with the trial court as noted. Normally, the petitioner must await the trial court’s decision on the motion. However, the person filing for the motion can file directly to the Court of Appeals while awaiting the lower court decision IF 1) the trial court has failed to rule within a reasonable time, or 2) extraordinary circumstances exist.

What Follows a “Motion to Stay Granted?”

What happens after your motion for stay pending appeal is filed? Generally, courts will grant the stay unless there is no basis for the appeal.

It is, therefore, likely the stay will be granted. When granted, it results in a “stay of execution.” While this sounds like it might apply only to death penalty cases, the word “execution” in this sense simply means the fulfillment of the lower court ruling’s sentencing or other penalties. For appeals in Indiana, a stay of execution has the effect of preventing all facets of the judgment from being processed while the appeal continues. Further, the trial court whose ruling is being appealed cannot, during this time, modify the judgment.

Naturally, if the lower court ruling is upheld by the appellate court, the stay ends and sentencing or other penalties can proceed as originally handed down. If the ruling was overturned on appeal, however (favoring the party making the appeal), it is likely that punishment or other punitive measures which resulted from the initial ruling are unenforceable within the scope of the lower court’s verdict. It is important to note, however, that a successful appeal could force a re-trial.

Key Takeaways:

A motion for stay pending appeal can be complex and its outcome will depend primarily on the facts of the case. Thus, it is important to have qualified legal representation to ensure your filings are properly drafted to enhance your chances of success. Here are some other important considerations:

Sometimes my personal injury clients ask if they have a right to appeal if they don’t like the result at trial. In Virginia, the answer depends where the case was originally filed and tried.[1] If the case was tried in General District Court, and you are not satisfied with the verdict, you have an automatic right to appeal your case to the Circuit Court, but you must give the court written notice of your intent to appeal within 10 days of the judgment (usually the date the case was tried).[2] You may also have to post what is called an appeal bond. Your case will then be heard in Circuit Court, and you may request a jury trial.

If your civil case was initially filed in Circuit Court and you are dissatisfied with the jury verdict or the judge’s award,[3] you do not have an automatic right to an appeal. You must petition the court to hear an appeal. The appeal is a two step process; first you must ask the Supreme Court to hear your appeal, and if they do grant the appeal, then you ask the court to agree with your position on the merits of the appeal. An appeal must be based on an argument that there was a constitutional violation in the trial process, that the judge made a ruling that contradicts the law, or that the verdict is not supported by the evidence. It is important to remember that if a party (through his/her attorney) does not object at trial to the rulings of the judge that are at issue, then the right to appeal may be waived.

A party who wishes to appeal a jury verdict or a judge’s award from Circuit Court must file a Notice of Appeal with the Circuit Court within thirty days of the judgment. A Petition must be filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The appellant (party appealing the case) will then be allowed 10 minutes to orally argue why the Supreme Court should listen to the appeal before a panel of three Supreme Court Justices. If the panel agrees that the Virginia Supreme Court should listen to the appeal (“hear” the appeal), then a “writ” is granted. Then the parties will file written documents explaining the grounds for the appeal and pointing out in the transcript of the trial where the alleged error was made. Then both parties (or their attorneys) appear before the full Virginia Supreme Court and argue the merits of the appeal before the entire Court (all seven Justices). Once both parties have argued the merits of the appeal, the justices will consider the evidence and argument and file a written order or opinion with their decision. These opinions are available to the public on the last day of each session of the court.

Virginia Supreme Court records show that about half of all requests to hear a civil case appeal are granted, and of those appeals that are heard on their merits, the appealing party wins about half the time. Assuming that those people who file a request for a civil case appeal are people who think they have a good grounds for appeal, that means that statistically you have about a 25% chance of winning if you appeal because you think you have a good basis for winning the appeal.

About the Author: Kathleen is a Fredericksburg car accident lawyer. She additionally handles many types of personal injury cases including truck accidents and pedestrian accidents in Fredericksburg, Garrisonville and the surrounding areas.

The appellant requests that the Magistrate hand to the Clerk / Registrar of the Court a written judgment in respect of the trial of the case, which judgment forms part of the record. It must show the facts he / she found to be proved and his / her reasons for the judgment.

The appellant then notes an appeal to the relevant Division of the High Court against the whole of the judgment delivered by the Magistrate in the matter. The appellant must show which legal and factual grounds the appeal is based upon.

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How to appeal a decision made by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) for legal aid funding in high cost civil cases.

Applies to England and Wales

How it works

Where an individual disagrees with the director’s determination that they do not qualify for legal representation or family help (higher), they can apply to an independent funding adjudicator (IFA) or the Special Controls Review Panel (SCRP) for reconsideration of that decision (except where the application is for exceptional cases funding).

Appeals must be submitted within 14 calendar days of the refusal decision.

Special Controls Review Panel

The SCRP is an independent review body made up of practising solicitors and barristers. It sits as a 3 member committee to consider appeals relating to certain high cost cases and other more complex cases.

Appeals and issues referred to the SCRP are considered, without a hearing.

This is unless the panel believes it’s in the interests of justice for the individual, or LAA, to make oral representations before them. If this happens, you are given a copy of the agenda note and appeal bundle to be placed before the SCRP in advance of the hearing, as well as an opportunity to make further representations.

Appeals manual

Appointments to the Review Panel

Review Panel Member appointments are listed in the document below:

These are public appointments. Vacancies are advertised periodically. Informal enquiries may be sent to [email protected]

Crime high cost cases


Exceptional and Complex Case Team: 0300 200 2020

  1. 18 January 2022

Guidance manual for new and existing Review Panel members now available, small revision to appointments list and new email address for membership enquiries.

Updated ‘review panel arrangements’ file. This sets out the practical arrangements for the appeals process against certain LAA decisions.

Updated file listing Legal Aid Agency Review Panel members

Amended review panel arrangements uploaded.

Appointment of appeals panel members

Published a revised version of the Funding and Costs Appeals Review Panel Arrangements document.

If you hear someone throw around the term “appeal letter” in regards to a court judgment, chances are they’re actually referring to a Notice of Appeal – no shame in some confusion, though, as the rabbit hole of legalise is long, dark and winding, especially when it comes to potentially overturning a court’s decision. This notice of appeal is the very first step to getting the appeal process – applying to a higher court for the reversal of the decision made by a lower court – off the ground.

What is a Circuit Court?

In traditional terms, a circuit court is a court that employs judges as they travel across jurisdictions to gain a broader understanding of the law of the land. It may also refer to a court that holds trials for various jurisdictions in the same rotation. In the modern American legal system, though, the term has evolved a bit more.

In the United States federal court system, 13 appellate courts – or courts that deal with appeals – sit below the United States Supreme Court. These are known as the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Among 94 federal judicial districts, 12 regional circuits each feature their own court of appeals. These federal courts of appeals are also known as circuit courts in the U.S. As appellate courts, circuit courts don’t hold their own trials; they only hear appeals for cases decided by lower courts.

What’s a Notice of Appeal?

Requesting to have a higher court reverse a lower court’s judgment begins with the court appeal letter known as a Notice of Appeal.

If the court order is eligible for appeal, you can file a Notice of Appeal as long as it’s’ within the time limits for said appeal (usually within 20 to 30 days of when the judgment was entered, but sometimes up to 120 days depending on the nature of the trial). These are forms that are available online. The form gives the opposing party and the circuit court a heads up that you are appealing the case. It usually includes some language to ensure that the appeal has not been taken up for the purpose of delaying collection on the judgment.

How Do I Write a Notice of Appeal?

While Notice of Appeal forms vary county per county, the blank form letter commonly includes spaces for your basic contact info, as well as information about the case, such as a case number and the names of the plaintiff and defendant. The meat of the document is a blank paragraph that you must fill in, briefly stating the reasoning behind your appeal.

As you craft this crucial section, keep in mind that appealing doesn’t give your trial a do-over – you won’t be able to introduce any new evidence to the proceedings; the judge at the circuit court will simply re-examine what has already been submitted. Once this section has been taken care of, sign and date the Notice of Appeal form.

Writing isn’t the end of filing a Notice of Appeal, either – you’ll also have to pay a filing fee, typically in the $100 ballpark, to the court clerk. Once that’s done, mail a clerk-notarized copy of the Notice to the opposing party’s attorney. The Notice must be legally served by mail or in-person, so make sure your server preps a Proof of Service document and provides you with a copy of that document upon delivery of the Notice.

After the Notice is Filed

Once you file the Notice of Appeal, watch your mailbox carefully. The court will notify you that you must file a legal brief within a certain time period; if you don’t, you’ll lose your chance to explain why your appeal should be granted. You may also get notified of oral argument. This means you’ll have to appear at the court and argue your appeal in front of the panel of judges. Not every appeal will have oral argument scheduled, but be aware that it could happen.

Writing a notice of appeal usually boils down to filling out a short, blank court form. You’ll then have to file an appellate brief after the court sets a schedule.

How to appeal a civil case

Appealing an unfavorable verdict can be a daunting task, but an effective attorney can synthesize a complicated case into a few critical arguments to give you the best chance at succeeding. Although each appeal is different, here are 5 keys to a quality appeal that apply to nearly every case.

Clarity is key

An appeals panel, the group of 3 appellate judges that decides your appeal, is tasked with the very difficult job of assessing an extensive trial record when considering an appeal. It is important to keep in mind that the appellate judges have not been involved in the previous case prior to the appeal and are therefore seeing the facts and arguments for the very first time. As a result, an effective appeal should be brief, logical, and clear. No judge wants to dig through a convoluted trial record to identify key issues in a case. Do the leg work for them and present a clear, logical argument that points to specific support in the trial record. The less the judge has to work to understand your argument, the better.

Present your strongest arguments

It is critical that an appeal presents the strongest arguments rather than a wide range of arguments – quality over quantity, if you will. Employing too many arguments can create clutter and confusion, making it harder for a judge to follow the logic behind your appeal and diminishing the effectiveness of each argument. Worse yet, too many arguments may create contradictions that can be exploited by the opposing party or undermine the strength of your primary argument. Including alternative arguments is encouraged, but they should be brief and should never distract from your strongest argument.

Honesty is the best policy

This may seem like a no-brainer but many appeals ignore or downplay aspects of the factual record or holdings in other cases that are not favorable to their position. This is a mistake. You can be sure that the State or the Federal Government will point out all of the negative aspects of your case. Appellate judges are also experts at spotting these deficiencies and if they decide that the inclusion or omission of a particular piece of information is misleading, they may be encouraged to take an even closer look at the rest of your brief with an extra critical eye. The best approach is to directly confront facts and holdings that are harmful to your argument, and explain to your panel why you should still win your appeal despite these negative facts or cases.

The little things matter on appeal

While the details always matter when you’re dealing with the law, they matter even more on appeal. The procedural rules and filing requirements on appeal are technical and confusing if you’re not an experienced appeals attorney. Most importantly, following these strict rules can be the difference between winning and losing an appeal. I’ve seen other lawyers not get their briefs in on time or fail to receive oral argument on appeal by not following an appellate court’s rules and procedure. If you want to receive relief from the appeals court, you’ve got to know how to follow its rules so that your best arguments can be heard.

Respond directly to the trial court

A trial can be a fast-moving, hectic event in which the trial court has to make many quick, snap decisions that can directly impact how fairly your innocence or your guilt is decided. An appeal, on the other hand, is an opportunity to take a step back, slow down, and really dig into what went wrong at trial. Your appeal must respond directly to the trial court’s decisions and any reasons given in support of that decision. An effective appeal will show the appellate court exactly how the trial court got a decision wrong under the law and how that incorrect decision affected the fairness of your trial.

The Bottomline

In many of these instances, it will be up to your appeals attorney to draw clarity from the records and present your strongest arguments. When seeking an appeals attorney, it is important to find a lawyer who has a solid background in doing the preparation work, writing a strong argument, and is able to advocate strongly on your behalf in the courtroom.

If you received a conviction in Louisiana and are looking to overturn your conviction, contact the Law Office of Sam Winston for your free consultation today.

How to appeal a civil case

Following a loss at trial, the attorney has to make a decision about whether to appeal the outcome.

A number of factors must go into this consideration: the likelihood of success on appeal, the facts and merits of the case, and what the client wants to do.

As these factors swirl, do not lose sight of the fact that there is a strict time limit in which to appeal. Under the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 3 (c), an appeal from a judgment or order in a civil action must be taken within thirty days after its entry. The time at which a judgment is “entered” is determined by Rule 58 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Likewise, under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the notice of appeal in a civil case must be filed with the district clerk within 30 days after the judgment or order appealed from is entered (FRAP Rule 3, 4).

Note that these time periods are tolled while the post-trial motions mentioned below are under consideration. The time to file an appeal runs from the entry of order disposing of the last of such post-trial motions.

Once the decision is made to appeal, the attorney must carefully review the Rules of Appellate Procedure. The appendices to these rules are an invaluable aid to the busy lawyer. The rules are specific even as to such matters as the format and style of filed documents. Appendix B sets forth the format and style requirements. Appendix A is a handy reference that sets out the timetable of Appeals with references to the applicable Rule. Appendix C sets out the required arrangement of the Record on Appeal. Appendix D provides forms for documents commonly submitted to the Appellate Courts. Appendix E provides guidance for the lawyer preparing the appellate brief.

It is imperative to sit down and carefully study the Rules. This is true whether it is your first or hundredth appeal. Failure to follow the rules may result in dismissal of the appeal. Wiseman v. Wiseman, 68 N.C. App. 252, 314 S.E.2d 566 (1984).

Post-Trial Motions

Following the close of evidence, a party may make a motion for a directed verdict (called a “motion for judgment as a matter of law” under the federal rules). See NCRCP 50 and FRCP 50.

If your motion for a directed verdict is denied, the case goes to the jury, and the jury finds against your client, you can make a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (called a “renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law” under the federal rules).

Attorneys sometimes forget to make a motion for a directed verdict and/or a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict no later than 10 days after entry of judgment. However, if you win either of these motions, your client will prevail and you could avoid the cost of an appeal. Note, however, that you must make a motion for directed verdict at the close of evidence in order to later make a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. This is true under both state and federal rules.          

Note also that a party who moves for a directed verdict at the close of the evidence offered by an opponent (typically this is the defendant) must renew the motion at the close of all the evidence in order to preserve the right to move for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

If there were irregularities at trial, new evidence comes to light, or some other valid reason exists, you should consider making a motion for a new trial. See NCRCP 59 and FRCP 59. Generally, a motion for a new trial must be served not later than 10 days after entry of judgment.

Similarly, clerical mistakes, inadvertence, surprise, excusable neglect, fraud, and other valid reasons might provide grounds for filing a motion for relief from a judgment or order under NCRCP 60 and FRCP 60.

For more information, visit our website and click on “Risk Management Resources.”

About the Author

How to appeal a civil case

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina and is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which helps lawyers and firms improve their well-being and create saner, more successful law lives. He is available for talks, presentations and confidential consultations.

When a court judgment rules against you, you may be able to file for an appeal. An appeal is the process of seeking a higher court’s review of a lower court’s decision in hopes of getting the decision reversed. Only a defendant can file for an appeal. In most cases, the defendant must be able to show that the trial court didn’t act correctly in regards to the law or show that there was some violation of the defendant’s rights.

How to Appeal a Court Judgment

Request a copy of the court records from your case. These records include the court transcript and your case file. You and your attorney should review these transcripts in search of any mistakes such as evidence that should or shouldn’t have been allowed, or decisions and procedures that took place during the trial which violated your constitutional or civil rights. You must transfer the trial court records to the appellate court.

File a notice of appeal within the specific time period required. The time periods may vary from state to state, and depending on whether it is a civil or federal case. You usually have between 30 and 90 days from the date the court entered a judgment against you to file your appeal. A notice of appeal is a written statement that outlines the basis for your appeal.

Make sure you pay any fees associated with your appeal. Failure to pay any fees can result in having your case dismissed by the appellate court. There is usually a time limit given to pay the fees which again may vary depending on state and type of case.

Have your attorney file a brief. A brief is a written argument presenting the defendant’s legal arguments which can include violation of rights, tainted evidence, or improper jury instruction. You must also provide precedents that support your arguments for your appeal. Although the defendant is filing for the appeal, the prosecution must also submit briefs to the appellate court. Following the briefs, the defendant’s attorney and the prosecuting attorney must appear in appellate court and state their positions to the appellate court panel.

Wait for the appellate court judges to deliberate your appeals case. Once they have made their decision on whether to uphold your previous ruling or reverse it, one or more of the judges will write concurring opinions which set forth their legal reasoning on the case. If any of the judges disagree with the majority, they may write a dissenting opinion which will outline the reasons why they believe the majority is incorrect. Whatever decision the majority comes to, that is the ruling that will stand. However, your attorney can use the dissenting opinion as legal reasoning for a new precedent in effort to reverse the previous decision.

How to appeal a civil case

The Second District Court of Appeals’ Clerk’s Office is in Lakeland, FL. But you don’t have to visit — you can file your filing fee by mail or online!

Timing of Your Notice of Appeal

In a standard civil case in Florida, one initiates an appeal by (1) filing a notice of appeal and (2) paying the filing fee. This applies to appeals from both final (see Fla. R. App. P. 9.110) and non-final (see Fla. R. App. P. 9.130(b)) orders. You have 30 days from the date your ordered is rendered to file your notice (stay tuned for an upcoming Appeals 101 post on what “rendered” means for appellate purposes).

Format of Your Notice of Appeal

The notice is a simple document — it does not contain argument, and it does not have to tell the court why you are appealing. Rather, it contains only basic contents — just enough to let the Court know what you are appealing and by what authority. Specifically, the notice must contain a caption, the name of the court to which the appeal is taken, the date of rendition, and the nature of the order to be reviewed. It is also critical to attach a copy of the order on appeal to the notice. The rules actually contain a sample notice to follow [.pdf].

Filing and Fees for Your Notice of Appeal

So how, and where, do you accomplish these filings? You go to the court that issued the order you want to appeal (sometimes referred to as the “trial court” or the “lower tribunal”). That is where you will file your notice of appeal. As far as fees, you’ll have to pay a fee both to that court, and to the appellate court. These days, both your notice of appeal and your filing fees to the courts can be paid online.

An example: You are appealing to the district court of appeal a final order of the circuit court. You must file your notice of appeal with the circuit court clerk, along with a $100 filing fee. You may also have to pay other small handling fees, such as a $2 “certification” fee, or credit card fees. Your notice of appeal will be sent to the district court of appeal. Upon receipt of the notice, the district court will assign your case a new number, and will often issue an order or notice stating that its filing fee has not been paid. You then must pay the district court an additional $300. Note that this procedure doesn’t really match up with the rules — before electronic filing, you were supposed to send your check to the circuit court clerk for both filing fees, but the rules haven’t caught up with technology, and the District Court does not take issue with you paying your filing fees after it assigns a case number, so long as you do it quickly. At that point, your appeal is fully initiated.

Filing a Notice of Appeal of a County Court Decision

The process is generally the same for appealing county court orders to the circuit courts, although the amounts of the fees vary slightly.

Filing a Notice of Cross-Appeal

And if someone else has filed a notice of appeal already and you want to file a cross-appeal, you’ll have to pay the appellate court $295.

For more information, look to the rules for final appeals and non-final appeals , and check out some of our other blog posts at

What Happens if My Notice of Appeal is Late?

Be careful, because failing to file the notice of appeal on time will result in dismissal of your appeal for lack of jurisdiction. A late notice of appeal is not something that can be fixed. And while the courts are somewhat forgiving if you merely file in the wrong court or don’t pay the filing fee right away, they can still dismiss your appeal before you even get a chance to argue the merits if you don’t straighten out those defects fast.

Don’t Mess Around With Your Notice of Appeal

The rules of appellate procedure can be complicated and intimidating, but we’re here to help. Because the 30 day deadline comes fast, call our office for a consultation at 813-778-5161 if you are thinking of filing an appeal. Day 31 is too late. Count wrong, and it can be too late. Misunderstand rendition, and it can be too late. In fact, because understanding rendition can be tricky — and because your appeal can sometimes be stronger if you file a timely and authorized motion for rehearing, which has a shorter deadline — we recommend you contact appellate counsel within a day or two of learning of the order you want to appeal.

About Appeals 101

This post is part of our continuing Appeals 101 series. Click the link to find all of our posts on the basics of litigating an appeal.

How to appeal a civil case

A memorandum of appeal is different from a petition. Therefore, no enumeration of the facts of the case, no complaint against the high handedness of the other party, no plea of the helpless condition of the appellant and no plea for the sympathy of the court should find any place in the memorandum. The memorandum can be divided into two main parts. They are

  1. Formal part
  2. The Material Part

In the formal part, the following should be included:

(a) Heading of the case: This should begin with the name of the Court, the name and address of the parties to the appeal should be given. The name of the appellant being given first.

(b) An introductory state of the appellant: This statement must give the particulars of the decree or order appealed from.

(c) The Valuation of the appeal:

Though there is nothing in the C.P.C. to require that the valuation of an appeal should be written in the memorandum of an appeal yet as and Valoren Court fees are after payable, it has become a common practice to enter the value of the appeal in the memorandum.

(2) The material part of an appeal should include the following Ground of Appeal:

(i) The grounds of Appeal or objection should be written distinctly and specifically.

(ii) They should be written concisely.

(iii) They must not be framed in a narrative or in an argumentative form.

Format of Memorandum of Appeal in Civil Cases

The Honourable Chief Justice

And the other Judges of the

The petitioner above named respectively showeth

  1. The petitioner carries on the business of import of all kinds of machinery under the name and style of „Ganga imports‟ having his office at 42 Masjid Bander Road, Hyderabad.
  2. The second respondent is appointed U/Sec 5 of the import and Export Act 1956 and is authorized to process all applications for import under the provisions of the said Act.
  3. On 02.05.2011, the petitioners made an application to the second respondent in the prescribed form for the import of certain textile machinery from Germany. The said application was accompanied by the prescribed fee of Rs. 2,00,000. Here to annexed and marked Exhibit „A‟ is a copy of the petitioner said applications dated 2nd May 2011.
  4. As the petitioner did not receive any reply from the second respondent, the petitioner wrote a letter to expedite the issue of the Import licence in favour of the petitioner. In the said letter, the petitioners also requested for a personal hearing before any final decisions were taken in the matter by the second Respondent. Annexed have to and marked exhibit „B‟ is a copy of the said letter of the petitioner date 10.10.2011.
  5. The petitioner says that thereafter, the petitioner addressed two further reminders to the second respondent on 15.11.2011 and on 04.12.2011 once again requesting the second respondent to issue the necessary import licence to the petitioners. The petitioner craves leave to refer to and reply upon the said reminders dated 15.11.2011 and 04.12.2011 when produced.
  6. The petitioner submits that the application herein was made by the petitioner in Hyderabad. The second respondent has rejected the said application in Hyderabad and this Honourable Court. Therefore has jurisdiction to receive, try and determine this petition.

The petitioner therefore prays

(a) That this honourable court be pleased to issue a writ of mandamus or a writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction U/Art-226 of the constitution of India, against the respondents ordering and directing them.

(i) To forthwith withdraw and cancel the said letter of rejection dated 07.01.2011 being exhibit “C” here to

(ii) To forthwith disperse of the application of the petitioner dated 02.05.2011 being, exhibit “A” here to after giving to the petitioner as per the rules and guidelines relating to imports licensing.

(b) For the costs of this petition and

(c) For such further and other orders and the nature and circumstances of the case may require.

An appeal on an agreed statement of the case under Rule 8B requires that the parties mutually agree on how to frame the issues for appeal. If the parties can’t reach an agreed statement that’s acceptable to both parties and approved by the court, then you may proceed to an appeal on the record of proceedings under Rule 8C.

Filing an agreed statement of the case

An appeal on an agreed statement of the case under Rule 8B requires that the parties mutually agree on, and the trial judge approve of, how to frame the issues for appeal. To start this method of appeal, the parties must prepare, sign, and file an “agreed statement of the case” in the trial court together. Any agreed statement must include:

  1. A copy of the notice of appeal
  2. A statement of how the issues the appeal presented happened and were decided in the trial court
  3. A statement of facts needed for a decision on the case.

The parties must file the agreed statement in the trial court within 30 days from when the appellant filed the notice of appeal, or, if the appellant’s expedited appeal under Rule 8A was terminated, within 30 days from the termination date.

The agreed statement must be approved by the trial judge. Unless the trial judge enters an order of disapproval within 15 days from when the agreed statement was filed, the statement is considered approved. In an order of disapproval, the judge may condition his or her approval of the agreed statement on the parties making changes to the statement.

If the judge enters an order of disapproval or approves the agreed statement with conditions that any party doesn’t agree with, the procedure under Rule 8B can be considered terminated, and the appellant may proceed with an appeal under Rule 8C. As an alternative, a party could ask for a hearing in the trial court to prepare an agreed statement that would be acceptable to the parties and the trial judge. If the parties can’t reach an agreed statement that’s acceptable to both parties and approved by the court, it will be disapproved, and the appellant can try for an appeal under Rule 8C.

If the agreed statement is approved by the trial court, the appellant must file 6 additional copies of the agreed statement and 6 copies of its brief in the trial court within 25 days after receiving the notice of approval from the trial court clerk. You must also serve a copy of your brief on every other party within the same 25-day deadline. The appellee must serve 1 copy, and file 6 copies, of its brief within 15 days after the appellant’s brief is served. You may then serve 1 copy, and file 6 copies, of a reply brief within 10 days of when the appellee’s brief is served.

60 days after the date of approval of the agreed statement, the trial court clerk sends the Appellate Division 6 copies of the docket entries, 6 copies of the agreed statement, and 6 copies of the briefs of each party. Once received from the trial court, the Appellate Division will send you notice of receipt of the appeal, which will include your Appellate Division docket number. It may also include the date of oral argument.

For more information on the next steps after filing, please see Appeal a District Court civil case to the Appellate Division.

Tips and Examples for Writing an Appeal Letter for Work

Maddy Price / The Balance

An appeal letter is something you write if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly in some way in your workplace, and you want someone to reconsider a decision they made about you. There are various times you might need to write an appeal letter.

Perhaps you believe you’ve been unfairly warned, demoted, laid off, or fired. Maybe you’ve been denied a raise when you believe you deserve one. If this is the case, a well-crafted appeal letter may help in redressing the situation.

What to Include in an Appeal Letter

In an appeal letter, you state the situation or event, explain why you think it was wrong or unjust, and state what you hope the new outcome will be.

Your appeal letter is your chance to share your side of the situation.

The goal of an appeal letter is to have a decision reconsidered, and hopefully overturned. If your letter is courteous and clear, this is possible.

Tips for Writing an Appeal Letter

Here are some tips on how to write an effective appeal letter. Also read below for a template for an appeal letter and a sample appeal letter.

Check Company Policy. Before you write your letter, check company policy for information on how grievances and employee issues are handled.

Know Where to Send Your Letter. Think carefully about whom to send your letter to. If you are trying to appeal a wrongful termination, for example, send the letter directly to your employer. You don’t want your letter to have to pass through a number of hands—this will only delay a resolution to your issue.

Use Business Letter Format. It is an official letter, so be sure to use proper business letter format. If you send your appeal via email, the format is slightly different.

Use a Polite Tone. Try to avoid any anger or judgment in your writing. While you might be very upset about the issue, you don’t want to convey this feeling in your letter. Be confident and persuasive, but not aggressive. Consider asking a friend to read through the letter to make sure the tone is appropriate.

Admit Any Mistakes. If you did something wrong, acknowledge it. State specifically what you did wrong, and what you have learned from that experience.

State What You Would Like to Happen. In your letter, explicitly state what you hope will happen. Do you want the reader to reverse a decision he or she made? Do you want your employer to review a particular issue before making a decision? Be clear about what you want.

Stick to the Facts. Include any facts that help support your case. If there are policies that have been overlooked, state those policies. If you have documents that will help your case, include them. Avoid emotional pleas, and stick to actualities.

Keep it Brief. Keep your letter short. Focus on the facts, stating what the situation is, why you think it is wrong, and what next steps you request.

Carefully Edit Your Letter. Because this is a professional letter, thoroughly proofread your letter before submitting it.

Follow Up. ​If you do not hear anything back in a week or so, follow up with the letter recipient with an email or second letter. If time is of the essence, follow up sooner.

Appeal Letter Format

Your Contact Information
Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address

Employer Contact Information
City, State Zip Code

First Paragraph
Introduce yourself, and explain that you are writing an appeal letter. State the particular decision or situation you are appealing.

Paragraph 2
State your side of the story. Were facts overlooked? If so, provide those facts. State whether or not you have attached any relevant documents.

Paragraph 3
State the outcome that you want (Do you want your employer to overturn a decision? Do you want something to be added to a decision?). Also state when you need an answer by, if there is a deadline.

Final Paragraph
Conclude with a courteous “thank you” for the person’s time. Include necessary contact information so they can follow up with you. If you are going to follow up, state how you will do so, and when.


Handwritten Signature (for a hard copy letter)

Template for an Appeal Letter

Download the appeal letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Sample Appeal Letter (Denied a Raise)

Below is a sample appeal letter that follows the format above. It is for an employee who has been denied a raise. Use this sample to help you write your appeal letter. Be sure to revise the sample to fit your particular situation.

Sample Appeal Letter (Text Version)

Franklin Rodriguez
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345

Leslie Lee
Acme Retail
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

I hope you are doing well. I am writing to appeal your decision not to grant my annual pay raise, which we discussed last Tuesday at our annual review meeting.

As you stated in our meeting, you believed I had been late to work too many times this year to warrant a pay raise. According to my records (which I received from Human Resources), I have not been late more than two times this year. I have attached the Human Resources document marking my status.

In light of these facts, I request that you reconsider your decision about my pay raise.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this and the attached document. I am happy to meet with you any time to discuss this further.

Signature (hard copy letter)

The information contained in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law.

Requirements for an appeal on the record of proceedings

An appeal on the record of proceedings under Rule 8C is an appeal where you may include a transcript. If you have already tried an expedited appeal and an agreed statement of the case, you must file this type of appeal.

Filing an appeal on the record of proceedings

To start an appeal on the record of proceedings, you must file a document with the title “Appeal on the Record of Proceedings” in the trial court. The appellant must file and serve the appeal on the record of proceedings within 30 days after filing the notice of appeal, or, if an appeal has been unsuccessfully made under Rule 8A or 8B, within 30 days after the end of those proceedings. This document must include a statement that you plan to proceed under Rule 8C and, if a transcript will be necessary, a request for the audio recording of the trial proceedings, unless this request for the recording was previously made in the notice of appeal. The request for the recording must be made on the required court form and include the $50.50 fee. If the District Court where your case was heard uses For the Record (FTR) to record cases, you will need to follow Trial Court Administrative Order 19-1 to review the audio recording of your case and obtain a transcript.

You must file and serve a document called “Designation for Transcription” within 15 days of receiving notice from the clerk that the recording is available, or, if you previously received the recording, within 15 days of filing the appeal on the record of proceedings. This document must include, among other items, information about which specific portions of the recording should be included in the transcript and the transcriber who was agreed on by the parties or, if the parties can’t agree, a request for the clerk to pick the transcriber. Rule 8C(c)(1) includes a full list of the information that must be included in the transcription designation.

If you’ve asked for the whole recording to be transcribed, you must send a copy of the recording to the transcriber within the same 15 days required for filing and serving the transcription designation, with an order to transcribe the whole recording. The order must include, among other items, a statement that the original copy of the transcript should be sent to the trial court clerk and the number of copies to send you. You must promptly file with the trial court clerk and serve a copy of the order on the other parties. If you haven’t asked for the whole recording to be transcribed, Dist./Mun. Cts. R.A.D.A. 8C(c)(1)-(2) explains the procedure for the appellee to counter-designate additional parts of the recording to be transcribed.

You must file 6 additional copies of the appeal on the record of proceedings in the trial court within 30 days of notice from the trial court clerk that the original transcript has been received. When the court receives those copies, the clerk sends those 6 copies, along with 6 copies of the docket entries, to the Appellate Division. When the Appellate Division receives the appeal, it will send you notice of receipt of the appeal and a briefing schedule. It will include your Appellate Division docket number.

The briefing schedule will tell you to serve a copy on the other parties, and file 6 copies in the Appellate Division, of your appellant’s brief and the appendix (including any transcript) within 30 days of the notice. The appellee must serve 1 copy, and file 6 copies, of its brief within 20 days of service of the appellant’s brief. You may then serve 1 copy, and file 6 copies, of a reply brief within 14 days of service of the appellee’s brief. The Appellate Division will send the parties notice of the time and place for the oral argument.

For more information on the next steps after filing, please see Appeal a District Court civil case to the Appellate Division.

As with any court proceeding, decisions in probate can leave some parties nonplussed, to say the least. All probate is handled at the state level, and therefore the right of appeal from probate is entirely governed by the statutes of the local jurisdiction.

Identify the appropriate court of review. In most cases, appeal from probate goes to the local superior court. In others it might be directly to a state district court of appeal. The statutes of the state set forth the appropriate venue, but the website of the probate court might also explain where to file an appeal.

Identify grounds for appeal. An appeal is usually filed as a review of a decision to see if the judge incorrectly interpreted or applied a law. In probate there can be more subjectivity to decisions, such as whether an executor has a conflict of interest or breached his fiduciary duty. Appeals are usually based on legal and procedural, rather than purely factual, issues.

Write and file appellate brief. A person making an appeal to a higher court is called an appellate, and the brief she files in support of her appeal is called an appellate brief. This document should set forth the jurisdiction of the reviewing court, the standing of the appellate to make an appeal and the legal issues the appellate court seeks to have reviewed.

File a Notice of Appeal. When an order or judgment is appealed, a Notice of Appeal must be filed in the lower court, in this case probate. This notifies the court and all parties of the appeal, and stays any action further to the appealed order until the court of review acts on the appeal.


  • Only parties to a proceeding can file an appeal. In probate, the parties are the decedents who have a legal interest in the estate; any creditors also having an interest in the estate; and any executors, trustees or other professionals charged with administering the estate.
  • The decision of a district court of appeal can be reviewed by the state supreme court. If there is a federal issue in the appeal, it can ascend to the federal appellate system. Appeals from probate have risen to the level of the U.S. Supreme Court in rare cases. Though appellate advocacy is not always considered a legal specialty, it is a fairly legalistic field of practice that is usually difficult for a pro se litigant to master. Hiring or consulting an attorney for appeals is highly recommended.
  • Connecticut Statutes on Appeal from Probate
  • Right to appeal probate court decision
  • California Probate
  • The decision of a district court of appeal can be reviewed by the state supreme court. If there is a federal issue in the appeal, it can ascend to the federal appellate system. Appeals from probate have risen to the level of the U.S. Supreme Court in rare cases. Though appellate advocacy is not always considered a legal specialty, it is a fairly legalistic field of practice that is usually difficult for a pro se litigant to master. Hiring or consulting an attorney for appeals is highly recommended.
  • Only parties to a proceeding can file an appeal. In probate, the parties are the decedents who have a legal interest in the estate; any creditors also having an interest in the estate; and any executors, trustees or other professionals charged with administering the estate.

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.