A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine if it was correct. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the "appellant;" the other party is the "appellee."

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Additional Sources

The transfer of a case from a lower to a higher court for a new hearing.

A case so transferred.

A request for a new hearing.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

To ask another, more senior court or person to review a decision of a subordinate court or person.

In some countries such as Canada, the USA and Australia, appeals can continue all the way up to the Supreme Court, where the decision is final in that it can no longer be appealed.

Encyclopedia Britannica

The resort to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court, or to a court to review the order of an administrative agency. In varying forms, all legal systems provide for some type of appeal.


A proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court's judgment for the purpose of convincing the higher court that the lower court's judgment was incorrect. Dictionary

To ask a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial court after final judgment or other legal ruling. After the lower court judgment is entered into the record, the losing party (appellant) must file a notice of appeal, request transcripts or other records of the trial court (or agree with the other party on an "agreed-upon statement"), file briefs with the appeals court citing legal reasons for over-turning the ruling, and show how those reasons (usually other appeal decisions called "precedents") relate to the facts in the case. No new evidence is admitted on appeal, for it is strictly a legal argument. The other party (Respondent or appellee) usually files a responsive brief countering these arguments. The appellant then can counter that response with a final brief. If desired by either party, they will then argue the case before the appeals court, which may sustain the original ruling, reverse it, send it back to the trial court, or reverse in part and confirm in part. For state cases there are Supreme Courts (called Courts of Appeal in New York and Maryland) which are the highest appeals courts, and most states have lower appeals courts as well. For Federal cases there are Federal Courts of Appeal in ten different "circuits," and above them is the Supreme Court, which selectively hears only a few appeals at the highest level. 2) n. the name for the process of appealing, as in "he has filed an appeal."

A proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court's judgment for the purpose of convincing the higher court that the lower court's judgment was incorrect.

Lect Law Library

A request to a supervisory court, usually composed of a panel of judges, to review a lower court's decision.

When one or both parties to a lawsuit disagree with the result in the trial court, it is usually possible to get a higher court (called an appellate court) to review the decision. Normally, an appellate court reviews only whether the trial court followed the correct law and procedures, and no evidence is presented. Some states have two levels of appeals courts; an appeal is usually first considered by an intermediate court (often called a court of appeals). If a party is still unhappy with the result, it is sometimes possible to get the state's highest court (usually called the supreme court) to review the case.

To appeal the trial court's decision, a notice must usually be filed with the trial court within a short period of time (usually about 30 days) after the entry of judgment by the court clerk.

The appellate court will require that both sides submit briefs and may also require the parties to orally argue before the court. After weighing the evidence submitted, the court makes its ruling, called a holding.

Procedure where a party to a legal proceeding asks a higher court to reverse or modify a lower court's decision.

Merriam Webster

A legal proceeding by which a case is brought before a higher court for review of the decision of a lower court.

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

Timely resort by an unsuccessful party in a lawsuit or administrative proceeding to an appropriate superior court empowered to review a final decision on the ground that it was based upon an erroneous application of law. A person who initiates an appeal—the appellant, sometimes called the plaintiff in error, must file a notice of appeal, along with the necessary documents, to commence appellate review. The person against whom the appeal is brought, the appellee, then files a brief in response to the appellant's allegations. There are usually two stages of review in the federal court and in many state court systems: an appeal from a trial court to an intermediate appellate court and thereafter to the highest appellate court in the jurisdiction. Within the appellate rules of administrative procedure, there might be several levels of appeals from a determination made by an Administrative Agency. For example, an appeal of the decision of an administrative law judge may be heard by a reviewing body within the agency, and from that body, the appeal may go to a trial court, such as a federal district court. Thereafter, the appeal might travel the same route as an appeal taken from a judicial decision, going from an intermediate to a superior appellate court, or it might go directly to a superior appellate court for review, bypassing the intermediate stage. The rules of appellate procedure applicable to a particular court govern its review of cases.


In law, an appeal is a process for requesting a formal change to an official decision. The specific procedures for appealing, including even whether there is a right of appeal from a particular type of decision, can vary greatly from country to country. Even within a jurisdiction, the nature of an appeal can vary greatly depending on the type of case. An appellate court is a court that hears cases on appeal from another court. Depending on the particular legal rules that apply to each circumstance, a party to a court case who is unhappy with the result might be able to challenge that result in an appellate court on specific grounds. These grounds typically could include errors of law, fact, or procedure (in the United States, due process).