What are common terms used in a civil appeal?

In the civil court system, there is a system that allows either the complainant or defendant to file an appeal if they don't agree with the outcome of the case. When either party files an appeal, it is vital for them to understand some basic terms that are associated with civil appeals.

What are the terms used to differentiate the parties?

The appellant is the person who files the appeal. This person is sometimes referred to as the petitioner. The appellee is the person who didn't file the appeal. This person is sometimes referred to as the respondent. The appellee is notified of the appeal via a notice of appeal.

What is a brief?

A brief is the written argument that must be filed by the appellant. This brief must include the legal grounds for the appeal. After the appellant files the brief, the appellee must respond to the brief. Once that is done, the appellant can file another brief to answer the appellee's response.

What are oral arguments?

Oral arguments are an optional event in civil appeals because many civil appeals are decided based only on the written briefs that are provided as part of the appeal process. These oral arguments must be requested by the appeals court. Oral arguments are limited to a time specified by the court. During oral arguments, the judges who are hearing the appeal might ask questions.

Going through a civil appeal can be a complex process. Knowing the legal grounds for filing the appeal requires an in-depth knowledge of the law.

Source: American Bar Association, "How Courts Work," accessed May. 08, 2015

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