The other side is appealing, what does that mean?

An appeal is when one of the parties requests that the decision in your case be looked reviewed by a higher court. When the other side is appealing it means there might have been a legal or procedural error for the court to change the decision. The appellate court will see whether the law was applied correctly. Read our free legal guide below to learn what happens during an appeal.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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A notice of appeal is filed when one of the parties is requesting that the decision in your case be looked at again by a higher court. In other words, they are arguing that something went wrong with the first decision and that it should be changed. The appellants will file the appeal.

In most cases, the appeals process is somewhat limited. It starts with a written filing, and it can go into oral argument. This is uncommon, especially if you get to the Supreme Court. The appellate court (the one reviewing the decision) generally gives a lot of deference to the already-standing decision. An appeal can be filed within certain restraints, but it’s up to the filing attorney to prove there are grounds for the motion.

Now that you know what is an appeal in court, keep reading to find out what are the grounds for an appeal. If the other side is appealing in a case, contact an experienced attorney to get legal help by entering your ZIP code.

What happens in an appeal?

Generally, when a case is appealed, one side is saying there was a legal or procedural error that would allow the court to change the decision. In other words, the Appellate Court won’t overturn a ruling just because you didn’t like the outcome. Instead, they will look to see whether the law was applied correctly and whether everything was done right. If a confession was used in a criminal case, was it gathered improperly (which should’ve led to exclusion)? Did the defendant receive ineffective counsel? Was there a significant legal error?

A mistake by itself isn’t enough. The Appeals Court also asks what kind of impact it had. If there was a procedural error that did not affect the outcome in a measurable way, the case will not be “overturned,” meaning the original decision will stand.

In some cases, the decision may be remanded, which means it will be sent back to the lower court to look at again with more explanation. The Supreme Court may also refuse to hear arguments, effectively upholding the decisions of the lower court.

This isn’t to say that an Appeals Court will never look at a case with fresh eyes. When they do, it is called “de novo” review, which means that they look at everything with no eyes and don’t pay attention to what the court below did. Usually, only decisions made by judges in certain courts go through a “de novo” appeal, like decisions in small claims court.

In any case, most appeals consist of lawyers writing briefs or “arguments” about why the higher court should or should not change what was decided. It is also important to note that either party can appeal a case. If the winning party isn’t satisfied with the amount of damages, for example, he may appeal. The only exception is a prosecutor in a criminal case, who is not allowed to appeal a verdict of not guilty.

The appeals process is legally complex. If you are involved in a case and the other side is appealing, you need to get legal help from an experienced attorney.

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What are the Courts of Appeals?

Underneath the U.S. Supreme Court are thirteen appellate courts. They are the ones who examine whether the law was applied correctly during trials.

Why do you need an appeals lawyer?

An Appeals Court can overturn decisions or get you a new case altogether. Their decisions are just as varied as the cases they hear. Your original attorney may be the best in their field, but appeals are a different ballgame. This is why experts recommend hiring a dedicated appeals attorney. They’re introducing a different kind of argument, and they’re not working with a trial judge. So the same techniques that might get you the result you want in the original case don’t work with the Appeals Court.

An appeals lawyer will review your case with fresh eyes and start the appeals process if applicable. In some cases, they could be appealing on the legal argument of ineffective counsel. In other words, your trial lawyer did not represent you effectively. even if you had a top tier trial lawyer, the Appeals process needs to be followed by an expert.

The Court of Appeals at every level receives countless requests every year. The higher you get, the more likely they are to turn away cases they don’t find applicable. It’s all about the initial presentation to get in the door.

Just like you’d find in the original court case, there are different types of appeals. For example, you wouldn’t want to hire lawyers from a real estate firm as criminal defense attorneys. This doesn’t change when you move to appellate lawyers. They need to know the law inside and out. Only then can you maximize your chances of success.

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