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A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any
court of law A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, C ...
that is empowered to hear an
appeal In law, 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 ...
of a
trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the admin ...
or other lower
tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title. For example, an advocate who appears before a court with a single ...
. In much of the world, court systems are divided into at least three levels: the trial court, which initially hears cases and reviews
evidence Evidence for a proposition is what supports this proposition. It is usually understood as an indication that the supported proposition is true. What role evidence plays and how it is conceived varies from field to field. In epistemology, evid ...
and
testimony In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. Etymology The words "testimony" and "testify" both derive from the Latin word ''testis'', referring to the notion of a disinterested Third-party source, thir ...
to determine the facts of the case; at least one intermediate appellate court; and a
supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
(or court of last resort) which primarily reviews the decisions of the intermediate courts, often on a discretionary basis. A particular court system's supreme court is its highest appellate court. Appellate courts nationwide can operate under varying rules. Under its standard of review, an appellate court decides the extent of the deference it would give to the lower court's decision, based on whether the appeal were one of fact or of law. In reviewing an issue of fact, an appellate court ordinarily gives deference to the trial court's findings. It is the duty of trial judges or
juries A jury is a sworn body of people (jurors) convened to hear evidence and render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a sentence (law), penalty o ...
to find facts, view the evidence firsthand, and observe witness testimony. When reviewing lower decisions on an issue of fact, courts of appeal generally look for clear error. The appellate court reviews issues of law (anew, no deference) and may reverse or modify the lower court's decision if the appellate court believes the lower court misapplied the facts or the law. An appellate court may also review the lower judge's discretionary decisions, such as whether the judge properly granted a new trial or disallowed evidence. The lower court's decision is only changed in cases of an " abuse of discretion". This standard tends to be even more deferential than the "clear error" standard. Before hearing any case, the court must have
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin 'law' + 'declaration') is the legal term for the legal authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels. Jur ...
to consider the appeal. The authority of appellate courts to review the decisions of lower courts varies widely from one jurisdiction to another. In some areas, the appellate court has limited powers of review. Generally, an appellate court's judgment provides the final directive of the appeals courts as to the matter appealed, setting out with specificity the court's determination that the action appealed from should be affirmed, reversed, remanded or modified. Depending on the type of case and the decision below, appellate review primarily consists of: an entirely new hearing (a non
trial de novo In law, the expression trial ''de novo'' means a "new trial (law), trial" by a different tribunal (''de novo'' is a Latin expression meaning "afresh", "anew", "beginning again", hence the literal meaning "new trial"). A trial ''de novo'' is usual ...
); a hearing where the appellate court gives deference to factual findings of the lower court; or review of particular legal rulings made by the lower court (an appeal on the record).


Bifurcation of civil and criminal appeals

While many appellate courts have jurisdiction over all cases decided by lower courts, some systems have appellate courts divided by the type of jurisdiction they exercise. Some jurisdictions have specialized appellate courts, such as the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) is the court of last resort for all criminal matters in Texas Texas (, ; Spanish language, Spanish: ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the South Central United States, South Central region of ...
, which only hears appeals raised in criminal cases, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has general jurisdiction but derives most of its caseload from patent cases, on one hand, and appeals from the Court of Federal Claims on the other. In the United States, Alabama, Tennessee, and Oklahoma also have separate courts of criminal appeals. Texas and Oklahoma have the final determination of criminal cases vested in their respective courts of criminal appeals, while Alabama and Tennessee allow decisions of its court of criminal appeals to be finally appealed to the state supreme court.


Courts of criminal appeals

;Civilian *
Court of Criminal Appeal (England and Wales) The Court of Criminal Appeal was an English appellate court for criminal cases established by the Criminal Appeal Act 1907. It superseded the Court for Crown Cases Reserved to which referral had been solely discretionary and which could only ...
, abolished 1966 *
Court of Criminal Appeal (Ireland) The Court of Criminal Appeal ( ga, An Chúirt Achomhairc Choiriúil) was an appellate court for criminal law, criminal cases in the law of the Republic of Ireland. It existed from 1924 until 2014, when it was superseded by the Court of Appeal ( ...
, abolished 2014 * U.S. States: **
Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat = Montgomery, Alabama, Montgomery , LargestCity = Huntsville, Alabama, Huntsville , LargestCounty = Baldwin County, Al ...
**
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals is one of the two court of last resort, highest judicial bodies in the U.S. state of Oklahoma and is part of the Oklahoma Court System, the judicial branch of the Government of Oklahoma, Oklahoma state gover ...
**
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals The Court of Criminal Appeals is one of Tennessee's two intermediate appellate courts. It hears trial court appeals in felony and misdemeanor cases, as well as post-conviction petitions. Appeals in Civil law (common law), civil cases are heard by ...
**
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) is the court of last resort for all criminal matters in Texas Texas (, ; Spanish language, Spanish: ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the South Central United States, South Central region of ...
;Military *
United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals In the United States military, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) is an appellate court that reviews certain court martial convictions of Army personnel. Jurisdiction In the United States, Courts-martial in the United States, courts-marti ...
*
Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) is the intermediate appellate court for criminal convictions in the United States Navy The United States Navy (USN) is the maritime military branch, service branch of the United S ...
(United States) *
Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals The Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals (CGCCA) is the intermediate appellate court for criminal convictions in the U.S. Coast Guard. It is located in Washington, DC ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockw ...
(United States) *
Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) is an independent appellate judicial body authorized by Congress A congress is a formal meeting of the Representative democracy, representatives of different countries, constituent states, or ...
(United States)


Courts of civil appeals

*
Alabama Court of Civil Appeals The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals is one of two appellate courts A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to he ...
* Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals


Appellate courts by country


New Zealand

The Court of Appeal of New Zealand, located in
Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara or ) is the capital city of New Zealand. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the second-largest city in New Zealand by metr ...
, is New Zealand's principal intermediate appellate court. In practice, most appeals are resolved at this intermediate appellate level, rather than in the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
.


Philippines

The Court of Appeals of the Philippines is the principal intermediate appellate court of that country. The Court of Appeals is primarily found in
Manila Manila ( , ; fil, Maynila, ), officially the City of Manila ( fil, Lungsod ng Maynila, ), is the capital city, capital of the Philippines, and its second-most populous city. It is Cities of the Philippines#Independent cities, highly urbanize ...
, with three divisions each in
Cebu City Cebu City, officially the City of Cebu ( ceb, Dakbayan sa Sugbo; fil, Lungsod ng Cebu; hil, Dakbanwa sang Sugbo), is a 1st class Cities of the Philippines#Legal classification, highly urbanized city in the Central Visayas Regions of the P ...
and
Cagayan de Oro Cagayan ( ), officially the Province of Cagayan ( ilo, Probinsia ti Cagayan; ibg, Provinsiya na Cagayan; itv, Provinsiya ya Cagayan; fil, Lalawigan ng Cagayan), is a province in the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, l ...
. Other appellate courts include the
Sandiganbayan The Sandiganbayan ( en, Support of the Nation) is a special Appellate court, appellate collegial court in the Philippines that has jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving Graft (politics), graft and corrupt practices and other of ...
for cases involving graft and corruption, and the Court of Tax Appeals for cases involving tax. Appeals from all three appellate courts are to the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
.


Sri Lanka

The Court of Appeal of Sri Lanka, located in
Colombo Colombo ( ; si, කොළඹ, translit=Koḷam̆ba, ; ta, கொழும்பு, translit=Koḻumpu, ) is the executive and judicial Capital city, capital and largest city of Sri Lanka by population. According to the Brookings Institutio ...
, is the second senior court in the Sri Lankan legal system.


United Kingdom


United States

In the United States, both state and federal appellate courts are usually restricted to examining whether the lower court made the correct legal determinations, rather than hearing direct evidence and determining what the facts of the case were. Furthermore, U.S. appellate courts are usually restricted to hearing appeals based on matters that were originally brought up before the trial court. Hence, such an appellate court will not consider an appellant's argument if it is based on a theory that is raised for the first time in the appeal. In most U.S. states, and in U.S. federal courts, parties before the court are allowed one appeal as of right. This means that a party who is unsatisfied with the outcome of a trial may bring an
appeal In law, 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 ...
to contest that outcome. However, appeals may be costly, and the appellate court must find an error on the part of the court below that justifies upsetting the verdict. Therefore, only a small proportion of trial court decisions result in appeals. Some appellate courts, particularly supreme courts, have the power of discretionary review, meaning that they can decide whether they will hear an appeal brought in a particular case.


Institutional titles

Many U.S. jurisdictions title their appellate court a ''court of appeal'' or ''court of appeals''. Historically, others have titled their appellate court a ''court of errors'' (or ''court of errors and appeals''), on the premise that it was intended to correct errors made by lower courts. Examples of such courts include the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals (which existed from 1844 to 1947), the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors (which has been renamed the
Connecticut Supreme Court The Connecticut Supreme Court, formerly known as the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors, is the supreme court, highest court in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. The seven justices sit in ...
), the Kentucky Court of Errors (renamed the Kentucky Supreme Court), and the Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals (since renamed the Supreme Court of Mississippi). In some jurisdictions, a court able to hear appeals is known as an appellate division. The phrase "court of appeals" most often refers to intermediate appellate courts. However, the Maryland and New York systems are different. The
Maryland Court of Appeals The Supreme Court of Maryland is the state supreme court, highest court of the U.S. state of Maryland. Its name was changed on December 14, 2022, from the Maryland Court of Appeals, after a voter-approved change to the state constitution. The cou ...
and the
New York Court of Appeals The New York Court of Appeals is the supreme court, highest court in the Judiciary of New York (state), Unified Court System of the New York (state), State of New York. The Court of Appeals consists of seven judges: the Chief Judge of the New Yor ...
are the highest appellate courts in those states. The
New York Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the State of New York is the trial court, trial-level court of general jurisdiction in the New York (state), New York State judiciary of New York, Unified Court System. (Its New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Appell ...
is a trial court of general jurisdiction. Depending on the system, certain courts may serve as both trial courts and appellate courts, hearing appeals of decisions made by courts with more limited jurisdiction.


See also

*
Court of Criminal Appeal (disambiguation) Court of Criminal Appeal may refer to: *Court of Criminal Appeal (England and Wales) *Court of Criminal Appeal (Ireland) *Court of Criminal Appeal (Northern Ireland) *Court of Criminal Appeal (Scotland) *United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals ...
*
Court of Appeal (Hong Kong) The Court of Appeal of the High Court of Hong Kong is the second most senior court in the Hong Kong legal system. It deals with appeals on all civil law (common law), civil and criminal law, criminal cases from the Court of First Instance of ...
*
High Court (Hong Kong) The High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a part of the Law of Hong Kong, legal system of Hong Kong. It consists of the Court of Appeal of the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Court of Appeal a ...
*
Court of Appeal (England and Wales) The Court of Appeal (formally "His Majesty's Court of Appeal in England", commonly cited as "CA", "EWCA" or "CoA") is the highest court within the Senior Courts of England and Wales, and second in the legal system of England and Wales ...
*
Court of cassation A court of cassation is a high-instance court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administrati ...


References


Citations


Sources

* Lax, Jeffrey R. "Constructing Legal Rules on Appellate Courts." American Political Science Review 101.3 (2007): 591–604. Sociological Abstracts; Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. Web. 29 May 2012. {{DEFAULTSORT:Court of Appeals Courts by type Appellate courts Jurisdiction