Not every verdict is just and fair. Even the best efforts of judges and juries to bring about justice can miscarry or get skewed. If you’ve received a ruling that you need to appeal, what can you do to get reconsideration or reversal? We’ll be honest: the appeals process is complicated and uncertain, but with skill, patience, and hard work, we’ve seen successful results for clients in the past. Consider this post your Introduction to Appeals 101 class.
We will cover a few basics, and if you want to do more research on your own, you can explore the Georgia Court of Appeals Citizen’s Guide and Q&A Resource to get a more in-depth treatment of the process. We’ll be quoting from those resources here as well.
What is an appeal?
“An appeal is the process in which a court’s decision is formally requested to be changed. The Court of Appeals of Georgia (the “Court”) will review a lower court’s decision to determine whether any mistakes occurred, and, if so, whether the party who filed the appeal is entitled to have the judgment of the trial court reversed, vacated, remanded (sent back to the trial court for further proceedings), or otherwise changed” (Citizen’s Guide_Questions).
How does the Court of Appeals work?
The Court of Appeals consists of fifteen judges, divided into five groups of three. Each group is empowered to review cases and decide whether to accept or deny the appeal. If all three judges agree on a ruling, they will issue an opinion. If there is disagreement among the three, then additional divisions may be brought in to assist in reaching a ruling.
Who can appeal?
“A party who is dissatisfied with a lower-court decision or ruling may have a right to appeal. A party may appeal with or without representation by an attorney” (Citizen’s Guide Questions).
How do you start an appeal?
One of the most important things to know is this: if you want to file an appeal, you need to do so within 30 days of receiving the ruling. This deadline is important and inflexible, so if you are thinking about submitting an appeal, the best thing you can do is to talk to an attorney as quickly as possible!
There are three main methods of appeal: Direct Appeal, Discretionary Application to Appeal, or Interlocutory Application to Appeal. Each of these has different procedures and nuances, and we strongly recommend seeking out professional counsel in order to give yourself the highest chance of filing a successful appeal! Please reach out to Castan & Lecca today to take the first step towards your appeal.