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Who Can Appeal a Court Decision?

If an unfavorable decision is rendered in a court case, you may be able to appeal the decision to a higher court of law. Appealing a court decision gives another court the opportunity to review the legal issues and facts to determine whether the unfavorable decision was made in error by the trial court. However, only certain parties are able to appeal a court decision and only certain types of decisions can be appealed. 

What Parties can Appeal a Decision? 

Not all parties involved in a court case are allowed to appeal a decision by the court. Generally speaking, the party that loses the lawsuit is able to appeal the decision with a specific exception. In civil cases, either party is allowed to appeal if the court decision does not go his or her way. In addition, the defendant in a criminal case is allowed to appeal the decision if he or she is found guilty of the criminal offense of which he or she is accused. However, the prosecution in a criminal trial is not allowed to appeal a court decision because appealing a not guilty verdict is in violation of a person’s double jeopardy protections. Once a defendant is found not guilty of a crime, the decision for those specific charges cannot be appealed.

What Decisions can be Appealed? 

Parties appealing a court decision are also only allowed to appeal final judgments. This means that all issues in the case are resolved and no other questions remain. A final judgment can be rendered by either a judge or jury, depending on the type of case, as well as from motions for summary judgment or motions to dismiss. A party in a civil or criminal case is not allowed to appeal a decision prior to the final judgment, although issues they wish to appeal while the case is ongoing can be brought up as questions or evidence during the appellate process.

The only exception to the final decision rule for parties appealing lower court decisions is the interlocutory appeal. An interlocutory appeal allows a party to raise a specific question to a higher court while the case is still ongoing. However, this is only allowed in specific circumstances, and the vast majority of appeals are only heard after a final judgment. To learn more about what issues can be appealed and when in your case, talk to a knowledgeable appellate attorney about your claims today.

Contact Us Today 

Understanding the appellate process and who can appeal a decision to a higher court in a case can be the critical difference in the success or failure of your legal fight. Trust an attorney with extensive experience in handling appellate issues to represent you and protect your rights. Call the office or contact us today at The Appellate Law Firm to schedule a free consultation of your case now.