Appealing The Case & Step by step Process

When a lawsuit is in trial and subsequently judgment is made by the court, there can be either agreement or disagreement on the judgment. In the case where any party is not satisfied with the judgment given by the court or disagree with it, they have an option to approach the higher courts and appeal against the decision made by the earlier lower court. In the legal terminology, this is referred to as making an appeal for appealing the case. Let us see in detail how the process of making an appeal works.

Appealing The Case

Once the court has given its judgment, you can make a written application to the higher courts and appeal to check the judgment given. Upon accepting your appeal, the Higher Court will look at the entire case again from the standpoint of evidence presented and its compliance with legal rules. Further, the Higher Court will also check whether there was any legal error made by the Lower court while giving the judgment. Depending on the outcome in the Higher Court, it makes a decision to confirm, set aside or make any modification in the judgment given by the lower trial court.

Appealing The Case

However, it must be noted that an appeal is only made to check the evidence and legal process that has been followed by the Lower court. In no case does it mean that you can conduct a re-trial of your case.  The Appeal Judge will only be looking at the shreds of evidence and exhibits that you have submitted during the trial in the lower Court. Further, you will not be allowed to make any new revelations or submit new evidence during the appeal. Therefore an appeal should be made only when you are thoroughly assured that there has been a mistake by the lower court in giving the original judgment.

However, there have been certain timelines described within which a person has to make an appeal to the higher courts. In the United States, if you are making an appeal against the decision given by the district court, then you are required to do so within 30 days from the date on which judgment was delivered. If you are appearing against a decision given by the justice court, you should do so within 20 days from the date of judgment. If you miss these appeal timelines then and you cannot make an appeal against the decision anytime in the future.

Step Wise Process to Appeal a Civil Judgment

In order to make an appeal in a civil judgment, the parties involved have to follow the steps given below:

  • Step 1: Recheck your evidence, arguments and legal procedures to determine whether or not there has been any wrongdoing and you can file an appeal.
  • Step 2: As given above, check what timeline has been specified to make an appeal against the decision made by the respective court. Ensure that you are well within the timeline before proceeding further.
  • Step 3: You can then appeal for the case by filing a “Notice Of Appeal” with the respective court which has given the judgment. Along with this notice, you are also required to pay the legal fees which are laid down by law for each court.
  • Step 4: You should get the Notice Of Appeal stamped by the court clerk and send it across to the attorney of the other party involved in the lawsuit or to the party directly if there is no attorney.
  • Step 5: You will be required to prevent the other party from executing the judgment while you make an appeal to the higher courts. You are required to take a stay on the judgment on grounds of the pending appeal. For this purpose, the court will ask you to enter into a “supersedeas bond” for guaranteeing payment.
  • Step 6: In this stage, you are required to order from the court (where the trial was conducted), a transcript file or statement containing evidence and other points. The procedure for obtaining this transcript or statement differs from court to court.
  • Step 7: In the case where the Appellate Court asks the parties to submit a brief, then the parties are required to fill a form known as “Appellate Brief” and submit it to the court.

Appeals in a Criminal Judgment

In most states of the US, only the defendant against whom the case has been initiated has the right to make an appeal against the judgment delivered. However, some States also give a limited right of appeal to the prosecutors. However, this appeal can only be made to determine certain legal aspects associated with the case. But it is mandatory for the prosecution to make such an appeal before the trial actually begins. This is in accordance with the rule against “double jeopardy”. According to this rule, a person cannot be tried twice for the same offence. Hence prosecution cannot appeal after the judgment has been delivered.

An appeal can be made by the defendant in the case where the judgment has any legal error, it is delivered by juror misconduct or an account of ineffective assistance given by the council.

Legal Errors

There may be a legal error induced in the judgment due to improper evidence, lack of sufficient and confirmed evidence or because of incorrectly given jury instructions. The Appeal will only be allowed in case the higher courts find that the above-given errors have directly affected the verdict of the case.

Improper Conduct of Jury

If the defendant believes that the verdict was delivered through the improper conduct of the jury, then they can file an appeal against the verdict. In such case improper conduct means the abuse of drugs or alcohol during the trial, using experiments or improper communication between the parties involved in the lawsuit such as a jury, witnesses and counsel.

Inadequate Representation

Defendants can also approach the higher courts and make an appeal in case they believe that they were given inadequate legal assistance by their counsel. However, in order to make an appeal, for this reason, the defendant has to first prove that the outcome of the case would have been different if their counsel would have taken actions other than those which were actually taken.

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