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In
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
, an appeal is the process in which cases are reviewed by a higher authority, where parties request a formal change to an official decision. Appeals function both as a process for error correction as well as a process of clarifying and interpreting law. Although appellate courts have existed for thousands of years,
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
countries did not incorporate an affirmative right to appeal into their jurisprudence until the 19th century.


History

Appellate courts and other systems of error correction have existed for many millennia. During the first dynasty of Babylon,
Hammurabi Hammurabi () was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The ...

Hammurabi
and his governors served as the highest appellate courts of the land.
Ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
law recognized the right to appeal in the
Valerian and Porcian laws The Valerian and Porcian laws were Roman laws Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by i ...
since 509 BC. Later it employed a complex hierarchy of appellate courts, where some appeals would be heard by the
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...
. Additionally, appellate courts have existed in Japan since at least the
Kamakura Shogunate The was the feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a wa ...
(1185–1333 CE). During this time, the Shogunate established ''
hikitsukeThe Hikitsuke (引付 lit. enquiry) or Hikitsuke-kata (引付方) (High Court) was one of the judicial organs of the Kamakura is a Cities of Japan, city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Kamakura has an estimated population of 172,929 (1 September 2 ...
'', a high appellate court to aid the state in adjudicating lawsuits. Although some scholars argue that "the right to appeal is itself a substantive liberty interest", the notion of a right to appeal is a relatively recent advent in common law jurisdictions. In fact, commentators have observed that common law jurisdictions were particularly "slow to incorporate a right to appeal into either its civil or criminal jurisprudence". The idea of an appeal from court to court (as distinguished from court directly to the Crown) was unheard of in early English courts. English common law courts eventually developed the writs of error and certiorari as routes to appellate relief, but both types of writs were severely limited in comparison to modern appeals in terms of availability, scope of review, and remedies afforded. For example, writs of error were originally not available as a matter of right and were issued only upon the recommendation of the
Attorney General #REDIRECT Attorney general In most common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinio ...
(which was initially discretionary but by modern times was regularly granted). Certiorari was originally available only for
summary offence A summary or petty offence is a violation Violation or violations may refer to: * Law violation * Violation (basketball), the most minor class of an illegal action in basketball * Bipolar violation, when two pulses of the same polarity occur w ...
s; in the early 19th century, certiorari became available for
indictable offence In many common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dic ...
s, but only to obtain relief before judgment. Due to widespread dissatisfaction with writs (resulting in the introduction of at least 28 separate bills in Parliament), England switched over to appeals in civil cases in 1873, and in criminal cases in 1907. The United States first created a system of federal appellate courts in 1789, but a federal right to appeal did not exist in the United States until 1889, when Congress passed the Judiciary Act to permit appeals in capital cases. Two years later, the right to appeals was extended to other criminal cases, and the
United States Courts of Appeals The United States courts of appeals or circuit courts are the intermediate appellate court An appellate court, commonly called a court of appeal(s), appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law tha ...
were established to review decisions from district courts. Some states, such as
Minnesota Minnesota () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Minnesota
, still do not formally recognize a right to criminal appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that there is no federal constitutional right to an appeal.


Appellate procedure

Although some courts permit appeals at preliminary stages of
litigation A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil ...
, most litigants appeal final orders and judgments from lower courts. A fundamental premise of many legal systems is that appellate courts review questions of law ''
de novo In general usage, ''de novo'' (literally 'of new') is Latin expression used in English to mean 'from the beginning', 'anew'. De novo may also refer to: Biology * ''De novo'', mutation, an alteration in a gene that is present for the first time in ...
'', but appellate courts do not conduct independent fact-finding. Instead,
appellate courts An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English), ''appeal court'', ''court of appeal'' (British English), ''court of second instance'' or ''second instance court'', is any court of law that is em ...
will generally defer to the record established by the
trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refe ...
, unless some error occurred during the fact-finding process. Many
jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ''Wikt:dictio, dictio'' 'declaration') is the legal term for the authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. Colloquially it is used to refer to the geographical area (: locati ...
provide a
statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
or
constitutional right A constitutional right can be a prerogative or a duty, a power or a restraint of power, recognized and established by a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of peopl ...
for litigants to appeal adverse decisions. However, most jurisdictions also recognize that this right may be
waived A waiver is the voluntary relinquishment or surrender Surrender may refer to: * Surrender (law)In common law, surrender is the term describing a situation where a leasehold estate, tenant gives up possession of property held under a tenancy as ...
. In the United States, for example, litigants may waive the right to appeal, as long as the waiver is "considered and intelligent". The appellate process usually begins when an appellate court grants a party's petition for review or
petition for certiorari A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' ...
. Unlike trials, appeals are generally presented to a
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
, or a panel of judges, rather than a
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objectivity (philosophy), objective ...

jury
. Before hearing oral
argument In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, la ...
, parties will generally submit
legal brief A brief (Old French from Latin "''brevis''", short) is a written law, legal document used in various legal adversarial systems that is presented to a court arguing why one party to a particular case should prevail. In England and Wales (and other ...
s in which the parties present their arguments at length in writing. Appellate courts may also grant permission for an ''amicus curiae'' to submit a brief in support of a particular party or position. After submitting briefs, parties often have the opportunity to present an
oral argument Oral arguments are spoken presentations to a judge or appellate court by a lawyer (or parties when representing themselves) of the law, legal reasons why they should prevail. Oral argument at the appellate level accompanies written brief (law), bri ...
to a
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
or panel of judges. During oral arguments, judges often ask questions to to challenge their arguments or to advance their own legal theories. After deliberating in chambers, appellate courts issue formal written opinions that resolve the
legal issues List of lists of issues and controversies with the law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and in ...
presented for review.


Appellate courts

When considering cases on appeal, appellate courts generally affirm, reverse, or
vacate A vacated judgment makes a previous legal judgment legally void. A vacated judgment is usually the result of the judgment of an appellate court, which overturns, reverses, or sets aside the judgment of a lower court. An appellate court may also vaca ...
the decision of a lower court. Some courts maintain a dual function, where they consider both appeals as well as matters of "first instance". For example, the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
primarily hears cases on appeal but retains original jurisdiction over a limited range of cases. Some jurisdictions maintain a system of intermediate appellate courts, which are subject to the review of higher appellate courts. The highest appellate court in a jurisdiction is sometimes referred to as a "court of last resort".Gregory L. Acquaviva and John D. Castiglione, ''Judicial Diversity on State Supreme Courts'', 39 ''Seton Hall L. Rev.'' 1203, 1205 (2009).


See also

*
Civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its e ...
* List of legal topics *
Judicial review Judicial review is a process under which executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, ...
*
Appellate procedure in the United States United States appellate procedure involves the rules and regulations for filing appeals in state court (United States), state courts and United States federal courts, federal courts. The nature of an appeal can vary greatly depending on the typ ...
* Scope of review


Notes


References

{{Authority control Appellate review Judiciaries Lawsuits Legal procedure