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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 interpreting law.Although appellate courts have existed for thousands of years, common law countries did not incorporate an affirmative right to appeal into their jurisprudence until the 19th century.
Appellate courts and other systems of error correction have existed for many millennia. During the first dynasty of Babylon, Hammurabi and his governors served as the highest appellate courts of the land.Ancient Roman law recognized the right to appeal in the Valerian and Porcian laws since 509 BC. Later it employed a complex hierarchy of appellate courts, where some appeals would be heard by the emperor. Additionally, appellate courts have existed in Japan since at least the Kamakura Shogunate (1185–1333 CE). During this time, the Shogunate established hikitsuke , 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 (which was initially discretionary but by modern times was regularly granted). Certiorari was originally available only for summary offences; in the early 19th century, certiorari became available for indictable offences, 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 were established to review decisions from district courts. Some states, such as 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.
Although some courts permit appeals at preliminary stages of litigation, 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 , but appellate courts do not conduct independent fact-finding. Instead, appellate courts will generally defer to the record established by the trial court, unless some error occurred during the fact-finding process. Many jurisdictions provide a statutory or constitutional right for litigants to appeal adverse decisions. However, most jurisdictions also recognize that this right may be waived. 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.Unlike trials, appeals are generally presented to a judge, or a panel of judges, rather than a jury. Before hearing oral argument, parties will generally submit legal briefs 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 to a judge or panel of judges. During oral arguments, judges often ask questions to attorneys 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 presented for review.
When considering cases on appeal, appellate courts generally affirm, reverse, or vacate 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 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".
A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive without going to courts for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Common-law legal systems place great value on deciding cases according to consistent principled rules, so that similar facts will yield similar and predictable outcomes, and observance of precedent is the mechanism by which that goal is attained. The principle by which judges are bound to precedents is known as stare decisis. Common-law precedent is a third kind of law, on equal footing with statutory law and subordinate legislation.
In the United States, a state supreme court is the highest court in the state judiciary of a U.S. state. On matters of state law, the judgment of a state supreme court is considered final and binding in both state and federal courts.
In the United States, a state court has jurisdiction over disputes with some connection to a U.S. state. State courts handle the vast majority of civil and criminal cases in the United States; the United States federal courts are far smaller in terms of both personnel and caseload, and handle different types of cases.
The United States courts of appeals or circuit courts are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal judiciary. The courts are divided into 13 circuits, and each hears appeals from the district courts within its borders, or in some instances from other designated federal courts and administrative agencies. Appeals from the circuit courts are taken to the Supreme Court of the United States. The district, appellate, and Supreme courts are all authorized under Article Three of the United States Constitution, giving them the exclusive functions as constitutional courts.
In law, certiorari is a court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency. Certiorari comes from the name of an English prerogative writ, issued by a superior court to direct that the record of the lower court be sent to the superior court for review. The term is Latin for "to be made certain", and comes from the opening line of such writs, which traditionally began with the Latin words "Certiorari volumus...".
Discretionary review is the authority appellate courts have to decide which appeals they will consider from among the cases submitted to them. This offers the judiciary a filter on what types of cases are appealed, because judges have to consider in advance which cases will be accepted. The appeals court will then be able to decide substantive cases with the lowest opportunity cost.
The federal judiciary of the United States is one of the three branches of the federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government. Article III of the Constitution requires the establishment of a Supreme Court and permits the Congress to create other federal courts, and place limitations on their jurisdiction. Article III federal judges are appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate to serve until they resign, are impeached and convicted, retire, or die.
The Judiciary Act of 1891, also known as the Evarts Act after its primary sponsor, Senator William M. Evarts, created the United States courts of appeals, and reassigned the jurisdiction of most routine appeals from the district and circuit courts to these appellate courts. Because of this, it is also called the Circuit Courts of Appeals Act.
An interlocutory appeal, in the law of civil procedure in the United States, occurs when a ruling by a trial court is appealed while other aspects of the case are still proceeding. Interlocutory appeals are allowed only under specific circumstances, which are laid down by the federal and the separate state courts.
The Judiciary Act of 1925, also known as the Judge's Bill or Certiorari Act, was an act of the United States Congress that sought to reduce the workload of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Jeffrey Stuart Sutton is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Non-publication of legal opinions is the practice of a court issuing unpublished opinions. An unpublished opinion is a decision of a court that is not available for citation as precedent because the court deems the case to have insufficient precedential value.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Schor, 478 U.S. 833 (1986), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held an administrative agency may, in some cases, exert jurisdiction over state-law counterclaims.
The supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of courts in many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, apex court, and highcourt of appeal. Broadly speaking, the decisions of a supreme court are not subject to further review by any other court. Supreme courts typically function primarily as appellate courts, hearing appeals from decisions of lower trial courts, or from intermediate-level appellate courts.
In the United States, jurisdiction-stripping, is the limiting or reducing of a court's jurisdiction by Congress through its constitutional authority to determine the jurisdiction of federal and state courts.
In United States federal courts, a circuit split occurs when two or more different circuit courts of appeals provide conflicting rulings on the same legal issue. The existence of a circuit split is one of the factors that the Supreme Court of the United States considers when deciding whether to grant review of a case. Some scholars suggest that the Supreme Court is more likely to grant review of a case to resolve a circuit split than for any other reason.
Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12 (1956), was a case in which United States Supreme Court held that a criminal defendant may not be denied the right to appeal by inability to pay for a trial transcript.
In the law of the United States, a certified question is a formal request by one court from another court, usually but not always in another jurisdiction, for an opinion on a question of law.
United States v. More, 7 U.S. 159 (1805), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that it had no jurisdiction to hear appeals from criminal cases in the circuit courts by writs of error. Relying on the Exceptions Clause, More held that Congress's enumerated grants of appellate jurisdiction to the Court operated as an exercise of Congress's power to eliminate all other forms of appellate jurisdiction.
A certificate of division was a source of appellate jurisdiction from the circuit courts to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1802 to 1911. Created by the Judiciary Act of 1802, the certification procedure was available only where the circuit court sat with a full panel of two: both the resident district judge and the circuit-riding Supreme Court justice. As Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, he did not have "the privilege of dividing the court when alone."