An appeal is when someone who lost a case, or part of a case, asks a higher court to decide if the lower court made a legal mistake.
An appeal is not a new trial. In appeals, the parties cannot present new evidence or new witnesses. The appellate court only reviews the record from the lower court to decide if a legal mistake was made in the original trial.
In an appellate case, the arguments are about the law, not the facts of a case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file an appeal?
Only a person or entity that was a party in the trial court proceeding can appeal a decision in that proceeding. You may not appeal on behalf of a friend, a spouse, a child, or another relative unless you are a legally appointed representative for that person (such as a guardian or conservator).
Do I need a lawyer to file an appeal?
Not generally. But appeals are very complicated, and take a lot of time, effort and money. You have to do all the paperwork correctly, meet the deadlines, and follow all the court's rules and procedures. If you make mistakes, your case may be dismissed and you may have to pay the appeal costs of the other side.
Also, a lawyer can help you decide if you can or should file an appeal. A lawyer might know how to get what you want faster and cheaper by using a different legal process. Many lawyers do not do appeals, so make sure you talk to a lawyer who specializes in appeals. A lawyer who has done some appeals and knows how to handle them will know what to do when, and can guide your case through the appeal process.
You can proceed with your appeal on your own, but given the particular nature of your case, you may want to consult with a lawyer.
How much does it cost to file an appeal?
For fees relating to civil appeals, please see the current fee schedule for Kings County Superior Court, which can be found here.
If you are low-income, you may be able to qualify for a fee waiver and not have to pay a filing fee. Fee Waiver forms and information can be found here.
Which court hears civil appeals?
Appeals of limited civil cases (civil cases in which the amount claimed is $25,000 or less), are heard in the appellate division of the superior court.
Appeals of unlimited civil cases (civil cases in which the amount claimed is over $25,000), are heard in the Fifth Appellate District. You can find contact and other information for the Courts of Appeal at Courts of Appeal. The Fifth District Court of Appeal is located in Fresno, California.
What types of civil cases does the Court of Appeal deal with?
The Courts of Appeal handle appeals in unlimited civil cases (civil cases in which the amount claimed is over $25,000). Courts of Appeal also decide certain cases that do not get filed at the superior court and instead must be filed at the court of appeal, like petitions such as mandamus, prohibition and certiorari in unlimited civil cases.
There are six appellate districts, each with a Court of Appeal. You can get more information about the Fifth District Court of Appeal, which hears appeals from Kings County, by visiting their website and self-help information.