How to Appeal a Civil Court Judgment

By Jill Lewis

Most civil court judgments are subject to an appeals process. An appeal does not mean you have to re-argue your case. Rather, a higher court will review the decision of the lower court to see if any errors of law were made. If the appeals court finds that errors were made that led to the court's decision, then the case will be reversed or remanded back to the civil court for further proceedings.

File a Notice of Appeal. A Notice of Appeal is a simple form document that you can obtain from the clerk of court that puts the court and opposing parties on notice that you intend to appeal the civil court judgment rendered against you.

Request a copy of the civil court record of your case. In your appeal, you will need to refer to the civil court record, which is a collection of all the pleadings, hearing transcripts and orders issued in the case.

Review the transcript and pay particular attention to whether any objections were improperly sustained or overruled, or whether any evidence was improperly admitted or excluded, since these are common grounds for appeals.

Draft an appellate brief identifying the errors and referring to the areas in the record where they appear. Cite to any applicable case law or statutes that support your position.

Submit your appeal to the court. The opposing party will have an opportunity to respond to the arguments presented in your brief, and you will usually have your own opportunity to counter their arguments.

Argue your case. After appellate briefs are filed, the court will usually hear oral argument from the parties. This is your chance to present your case to the court and to explain the basis of your appeal of the civil court judgment.

Be concise. Be sure to stick to errors in the record since new issues or arguments not raised in the lower court will not be heard on appeal

About the Author

Jill Lewis is an attorney in the insurance defense field who combines an active law practice with a freelance writing career. Concentrating on legal articles dedicated to providing practical advice to the layperson, Lewis has written for various online and print publications, including eHow and She is a graduate of New York University and the Lewis and Clark School of Law.

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