Appellate Court Definition

Learn about appellate courts, their functions, and how they impact legal decisions. Dive into examples, statistics, and case studies to understand the role of appellate courts in the judicial system.

What is an Appellate Court?

An appellate court is a type of court that reviews decisions made by lower courts or administrative agencies. This type of court is responsible for hearing appeals from parties who are not satisfied with the outcome of their case in a lower court.

How Does an Appellate Court Work?

When a party decides to appeal a decision, they present their case to the appellate court, which reviews the record of the case from the lower court. Appellate courts do not conduct trials or hear witnesses; instead, they examine the legal arguments presented by both parties and determine if the lower court made a legal error.

Examples of Appellate Court Cases

  • Landmark Decisions: Appellate courts have made many landmark decisions that have shaped legal precedent in the United States, such as Brown v. Board of Education.
  • Family Law Disputes: Appellate courts often hear appeals in family law cases, such as child custody disputes or divorce settlements.
  • Criminal Appeals: Individuals who have been convicted of a crime can appeal their conviction to an appellate court if they believe their rights were violated during the trial.

Statistics on Appellate Courts

According to the American Bar Association, appellate courts in the United States receive thousands of cases each year, with the majority of cases being civil rather than criminal. The appeals process can be lengthy and complex, with parties often waiting months or even years for a decision.

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