The Civil Appeals Process
An appeal officially begins once one of the parties files a notice of appeal. In some cases the notice of appeal should be filed in the trial court. In other cases, it should be filed in the appellate court. There is always a deadline for filing the notice of appeal. The deadline varies.
Once the notice of appeal has been filed, the trial court’s file must be transmitted to the appellate court. The appellant (the party appealing) is then required to file an initial brief (written argument) explaining why he/she thinks the trial court’s decision was incorrect. There is always a deadline for filing the initial Brief. The deadline varies depending on the type of case, and on the court.
Once the initial brief has been filed, the opposing party may file an answer brief explaining why he thinks the trial court’s decision was correct. There is always a deadline for filing the answer brief. The deadline varies.
After the answer brief has been filed, the appellant may file a reply brief. Again, there is always a deadline for filing the reply brief. Again, the deadline varies.
Generally, no additional briefs are allowed, but the parties may request an opportunity to present their arguments orally. Usually, the appellate court will not schedule oral arguments unless one of the parties requests it.
Once the appellate court has reviewed the case, it usually issues a written opinion explaining why the trial court was correct or incorrect, as the case may be.