Definition

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To ask for a review of an agency or court decision.

Elizabeth Priaulx, J.D. Brain Injury Association of America. “A Basic Glossary: Legal Terms for People with Brain Injury” (2006)

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    A request to a higher court to change the judgment of a lower court.

    Michigan Judicial Institute. “Handbook of Legal Terms” (2015)

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    A procedure in which a non-prevailing party to a legal proceeding seeks the reversal or modification by a higher court of a judgment or final order of a lower court or administrative agency.

    Missouri Press-Bar Commission. “News Reporter’s Legal Glossary” (2009)

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    Appeal is defined as a proceeding to have a case examined by an appropriate higher court to see if a lower court's decision was made correctly according to law

    New York State Unified Court System. “Glossary of Legal Terms” (2016)

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    A request by a party in a lawsuit that the trial court’s decision be reviewed by an appellate court or an appeal from the ruling of one appellate court to a higher appellate court.

    Colorado Bar Association. “Glossary of Legal Terms”

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    Another appeal definition is a request by the losing party in a lawsuit that the judgment be reviewed by a higher court because of error or injustice.

    American Bar Association Glossary

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    A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine if it was correct. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the "appellant;" the other party is the "appellee."

    United States Courts Glossary

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    A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one or more issues that an appellate court review the trial court’s decision to determine if it was correct. To seek review by a higher court of a lower court’s decision.

    State Bar of Wisconsin. “News Reporters’ Legal Handbook”, 6th Ed. (2013)

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    A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.

    National Association for Court Management Glossary of Terms

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    An attempt by a party subjected to a losing criminal or civil adjudication to have that decision overturned by a higher court.

    Drogin, Eric Y., et al. Handbook of forensic assessment: Psychological and psychiatric perspectives. Vol. 209. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

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    Appeal is the legal procedure by which a person asks a higher court to review the decision of a lower court.

    Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. “Women’s Legal Rights Handbook” (2015)

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    The review of the decision of a lower court by a higher court. If an appeal is successful, the higher court can change the lower court’s decision.

    Victoria Law Foundation. “Legal glossary” (2015)

Application to a higher court to alter a decision of a lower court or tribunal, usually because of a mistake in law. A common example would be an appeal from a decision of a single judge, in say the Federal Court of Australia which would go to a bench of three judges in that Court. Another example would be an appeal from the Federal Court to the High Court of Australia.

Peter English, Surry Partners Lawyers. “Glossary of legal terms” (2009)


Complaint to a higher court urging that it overturn the decision of a lower court. Appellate (higher) courts normally review questions of law on appeal, not determinations of fact. The review is conducted upon the record of the lower tribunal’s proceedings. Sometimes the term appeal is used in a technical sense to refer to upper-court review which is undertaken as a matter of right, as opposed to review granted on a discretionary basis (see CERTIORARI). More commonly, however, the term refers to any upper-court review.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (1988). Glossary of Selected Legal Terms for Juvenile Justice Personnel. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.


When someone that loses at least part of a case asks a higher court (called an “APPELLATE COURT”) to review the decision and say if it is right. This is called “to appeal” or “to take an appeal.” The person that appeals is called the “APPELLANT.” The other person is called the “APPELLEE.”

California Superior Court. “English Legal Glossary” (2005)