appellate court | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

An appellate court is a higher court that reviews and reconsiders cases previously heard in a trial court, with the power to reverse or affirm decisions.

An appellate court is a higher court that has the power to review and reconsider cases that were previously heard in a lower trial court. In this way, the appellate court acts as a form of oversight, ensuring that the lower court followed the law and that justice was served.

When a case is appealed, it means that one party involved in the case is unhappy with the decision made by the trial court. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as feeling that the decision was unfair, that the law was not applied correctly, or that evidence was mishandled. The party that is appealing the case must file a notice of appeal within a certain timeframe and provide the appellate court with a record of the proceedings that took place in the lower court.

Once the case is in the appellate court’s hands, the judges will review the record and any other relevant information that the parties provide. They may also hear oral arguments from the parties involved. Unlike in the trial court, there are typically no witnesses or juries in the appellate court, and the judges base their decisions solely on the record and arguments presented.

The appellate court’s decision can take several different forms. They may affirm the lower court’s decision, meaning that they agree with the outcome and reasoning of the trial court. Alternatively, they may reverse the decision, which means that they disagree with the lower court’s reasoning and either change the outcome or send the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. Finally, the appellate court may remand the case, which means that they send it back to the trial court for a specific purpose, such as to gather more evidence or clarify a legal issue.

Appellate courts are an important part of the justice system because they help to ensure that lower courts are applying the law correctly and that justice is being served. They also provide a way for parties who feel that they have been wronged to seek redress and have their cases heard by a higher authority. Overall, the appellate court plays a critical role in the American justice system and helps to uphold the principles of fairness, equality, and due process.

Learn More

On This Site

On Other Sites

      • Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Appellate court. Cornell Law School.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 04/05/2023


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.