Table of contents
2.1 Federal Material
2.1.1 Federal Court Rules
2.1.2 Federal Judicial Decisions
2.2 State Material
2.2.1 State Statutes
2.2.2 State Judicial Decisions
2.3 Other References
2.3.1 Key Internet Sources
2.3.2 Useful Offnet (or Subscription – $) Sources
appellate procedure: an overview
Appellate procedure consists of the rules and practices by which appellate courts review trial court judgments. Appellate review performs several functions, including: the correction of errors committed by the trial court, development of the law, achieving a uniform approach across courts, and the pursuit of justice, more generally.
Appellate procedure focuses on several main themes: what judgments are appealable, how appeals are brought before the court, what will be required for a reversal of the lower court (e.g., a showing of “abuse of discretion,” “clear error,” etc.), and what procedures parties must follow.
Appealable issues are commonly limited to “final judgments.” See, for example, the federal “final judgment rule” at 28 U.S.C. § 1292. There are, however, exceptions to the “final judgment rule.” They include: instances of plain or fundamental error by the trial court, questions of subject-matter jurisdiction of the trial court, or constitutional questions.See, for example, the Federal statute on appealable interlocutory (non-final) decisions at 28 U.S.C. § 1292.
Argument in appellate court centers around written briefs prepared by the parties. These state the questions on appeal and enumerate the legal authorities and arguments in support of each party’s position.
Only a few jurisdictions allow for oral argument as a matter of course. Where allowed, oral argument is intended to clarify legal issues presented in the briefs. Ordinarily, oral arguments are subjected to a time limit extended only upon the discretion of the court.
Federal appellate courts are governed by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (http://judiciary.house.gov/media/pdfs/printers/108th/appel2004.pdf). State appellate courts are governed by their own state rules of appellate procedure.
menu of sources
Federal Court Rules
- Rules of the U.S. Supreme Court (http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/supct/overview.html)
- Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (http://judiciary.house.gov/media/pdfs/printers/108th/appel2004.pdf)
- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/)
Federal Judicial Decisions
- U.S. Supreme Court: Search recent decisions (http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/index.html?query=appellate+and+procedure+and+review)
- U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals: Search recent decisions (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/fx?DB=Circuits)
- State Statutes Governing Court Procedure (http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/state_statutes.html#courts)
State Judicial Decisions
- N.Y. Court of Appeals:
- Search Recent Decisions (http://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/search/index.html?query=appellate+and+procedure+and+review+not+liibulletin)
- Commentary from liibulletin-ny (http://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/search/index.html?query=liibulletin+and+appellate+and+procedure+and+review)
- Appellate Decisions from Other States (http://www.law.cornell.edu/states/)
Key Internet Sources
- Administrative Office of the U.S.Courts (http://www.uscourts.gov/)
- ABA Section of Litigation (http://www.abanet.org/litigation/)
- Senate Judiciary Committee (http://www.senate.gov/~judiciary/)
- House Judiciary Committee (http://www.house.gov/judiciary/)
- Form: Notice of Appeal from a District Court (http://www.lectlaw.com/forms/f144.htm)
Useful Offnet (or Subscription – $) Sources
- Good Starting Point in Print: Daniel J. Meador, Maurice Rosenberg and Paul D. Carrington, Appellate Courts: Structures, Functions, Processes and Personnel (http://bookstore.lexis.com/bookstore/catalog?action=product&prod_id=10819&rtSearch=store%5fproductBySearch%26string%3dmeador), Michie, Charlottesville, Va (1994)
- LII downloadable titles (http://www.law.cornell.edu/disk.html)
Category: Courts and Procedure