Appellate Court

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Appellate Court

Quick Summary of Appellate Court

Technically, any court in which an appeal may be heard. In England, the term is normally used, if at all, with reference to the Court of Appeal. In other common-law jurisdictions (e.g. the United States), use of the term is considerably more widespread.

What is the dictionary definition of Appellate Court?

Dictionary Definition

A higher court that reviews the decision of a lower court when a losing party files for an appeal.

An appellate court is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In most jurisdictions, the court system is divided into at least three levels: the trial court, which initially hears cases and reviews evidence and testimony to determine the facts of the case; at least one intermediate appellate court; and a supreme court or court of last resort which primarily reviews the decisions of the intermediate courts. A supreme court is, therefore, itself a kind of appellate court.

n. a court of appeals which hears appeals from lower court decisions. The term is often used in legal briefs to describe a court of appeals.

Full Definition of Appellate Court

The appellate court is the court which has legal jurisdiction to hear cases on appeal from a lower court. They do not try cases but rather review questions of law or whether the trial judge or decision-maker correctly determined the facts of the case or whether they made a procedural error. The appellate courts are restricted to the evidence and exhibits presented at the trial court level.

Consider, it does not matter whether a claimant is unhappy with a decision or whether minor mistakes were made in a case; the issue will be whether the judge made a legal error. In some civil cases if you lose an appeal you may be forced to pay the costs of the opposing counsel. Even if you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer to appeal a civil decision it’s recommended that you review the appellate procedures, court rules, case law, and statutes that govern your personal injury case before deciding whether or not to appeal a decision.

Institutional Titles

Many jurisdictions title their appellate court a Court of Appeal or Court of Appeals. Historically, others have titled their appellate court a Court of Errors (or Court of Errors and Appeals), on the premise that it was intended to correct errors made by lower courts. Examples of such courts include the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals (which existed from 1844 to 1947) and the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors (which has been renamed the Connecticut Supreme Court). In some jurisdictions, courts able to hear appeals are known as an Appellate Division.

Depending on the system, certain courts may serve as both trial courts and appellate courts, hearing appeals of decisions made by courts with more limited jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions have specialized appellate courts, such as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which only hears appeals raised in criminal cases.

Authority To Review

The authority of appellate courts to review the decisions of lower courts varies widely from one jurisdiction to another. In some places, the appellate court has limited powers of review. For example, in the United States, both state and federal appellate courts are usually restricted to examining whether the court below made the correct legal determinations, rather than hearing direct evidence and determining what the facts of the case were. Furthermore, U.S. appellate courts are usually restricted to hearing appeals based on matters that were originally brought up before the trial court. Hence, such an appellate court will not consider an appellant’s argument if it is based on a theory that is raised for the first time in the appeal.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Appellate Court. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 27, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Appellate Court. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 27, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Appellate Court. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Appellate Court are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th April, 2020 | 4 Views.