Appeals


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What is an Appeal?

An appeal is a review by a court of another court's or agency's final judgment or decree. In some cases the appeal is a completely new hearing or trial. This would be the case in appeals from justice court to district court, and for some administrative agency appeals to the district court.

In other cases it is not a new trial, and no new evidence will be accepted. The only information the appellate court will consider on appeal is:

  • the written transcript of the hearing or trial
  • any items offered as evidence at the hearing or trial
  • the documents in the court or agency file
  • the written briefs filed in the appeal

This would be the case in an appeal of a district or juvenile court decision to the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court.


Justice Court Appeal to District Court

An appeal of a justice court decision goes to the district court, and results in a trial or hearing de novo. "De novo" means the matter is tried all over again. This is different from other appeal procedures, in which the appellate court does not hear evidence. A Notice of Appeal must be filed with the justice court within 30 days of the entry of a justice court order or judgment.

Criminal Cases in Justice Court

Forms are available at the bottom of this page.

Small Claims Cases in Justice Court

Forms are available at the bottom of this page.


District or Juvenile Court Appeal to Court of Appeals or Supreme Court

This kind of appeal is a review by the supreme court or court of appeals to determine if the juvenile or district court made a legal mistake.

The appellate court does not retry the case, take evidence, or weigh the credibility of witnesses. The appeal must be based on the record created in the trial court, and the person who is appealing must show that the trial court made a mistake. If there was a mistake, it must have been important enough that it could have made a difference in the outcome of the case.

See the Guide to Appealing a Case (PDF Document PDF) for information about these kinds of appeals. Forms are available at the bottom of this page.


Court of Appeals Appeal to Supreme Court

A Petition for Writ of Certiorari is a request to the Utah Supreme Court to review a decision of the Utah Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court can choose to grant or deny the petition. If the petition is denied, the decision of the Court of Appeals stands.

See the Guide to Filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari (PDF Document PDF) for information about these kinds of appeals. Forms are available at the bottom of this page.


Administrative Agency Appeal to District Court, or to Court of Appeals or Supreme Court

An administrative appeal is a review by the court of the final decision of a state or local government agency, board or commission. Depending on a couple of things, the review is either a completely new hearing (called a trial de novo), or a review of legal errors the petitioner believes the agency made in its decision.


Juvenile Court Child Welfare Case Appeal to Court of Appeals

This kind of appeal is a review by the Court of Appeals to determine if the juvenile court made a legal mistake.

The Court of Appeals does not retry the case, take evidence, or weigh the credibility of witnesses. The appeal must be based on the record created in the trial court, and the person who is appealing must show that the trial court made a mistake. If there was a mistake, it must have been important enough that it could have made a difference in the outcome of the case.

See the Child Welfare Appeals page and the Guide to Appealing a Child Welfare Case (PDF Document PDF) for information about these kinds of appeals. Forms are available at the bottom of this page.


Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) Licensing Database

If the Division of Child and Family Services had made a supported finding of severe abuse or neglect against someone, that person would be included in the DCFS licensing database.

If a person wants to challenge the finding and inclusion in the database, they can file a Petition Against Substantiation in the DCFS Licensing Database with the Juvenile Court. The forms are available at the bottom of this page.

Substantiation proceedings are governed by Utah Code Section 63G-4-402(2) and Utah Code Section 78A-6-323.


Appellate Rules

The Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure (also called Appellate Rules, or URAP) explain the procedure in appeals before the Utah Supreme Court or Utah Court of Appeals. The Rules specify the deadlines for filing documents, spell out how documents must be formatted, and provide other important information. Be sure to read and follow these rules carefully.

The current Appellate Rules are available on the court's website. The Rules are also published in Utah Court Rules Annotated, which is available at all of Utah's law libraries and at some public libraries.


Appellate Briefs

Briefs are the written arguments of parties stating the reasons why the Utah Court of Appeals or Utah Supreme Court should rule in their favor.

Examples of briefs submitted in other appeals can be helpful. Briefs are available from these sources:

  • The Utah State Law Library collection of briefs includes Utah Supreme Court (1929 and 1940s-current, docket # 4922-4932 and 6190- ) and Utah Court of Appeals (1986-current). This collection is the most comprehensive post-World War II collection of briefs in Utah.
  • Use the Utah State Law Library's Document Delivery Service to request copies.

Less comprehensive collections of briefs are also available at:

Briefs can be used as examples of what your brief should look like, but you must be sure to follow the requirements specified in the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure. Remember that the arguments in a brief are specific to that appeal, and may not apply to your situation.

Briefs can also be used as a legal research tool. They contain legal arguments designed to persuade the court by analyzing legal issues and citing legal sources. If you have found decisions of the Utah Supreme Court or Utah Court of Appeals that are similar to your case, library staff can help you look up the briefs to see what those parties argued.


Appellate Mediation

The Utah Court of Appeals created the Appellate Mediation Office to allow parties an alternative method of resolving their disputes. Unlike litigation and arbitration, mediation is not an attempt to judge the merits of the dispute and render a decision. Mediation is an attempt to assist the parties in understanding their interests, assessing their risks, and negotiating a mutually acceptable resolution.


Forms


Justice Court Appeal to District Court


Criminal/Traffic Cases
Small Claims Cases

District or Juvenile Court Appeal to Supreme Court or Court of Appeals

Some forms may not apply in all cases.

Petition for Writ of Certiorari (Appealing a Court of Appeals decision to the Supreme Court)

  • Guide to Filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari - PDF Document PDF
  • Affidavit and Application for Waiver of Court Fees - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Motion for Extension of Time - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Response to Motion for Summary Disposition - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Checklist for Petition for Writ of Certiorari - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Checklist for Petition for Rehearing - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word

Administrative Agency to District Court

See our Appealing an Administrative Agency Decision page.

Administrative Agency to Supreme Court or Court of Appeals

Some forms may not apply in all cases.

  • Guide to Filing a Petition for Review - PDF Document PDF
  • Petition for Review - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Affidavit and Application for Waiver of Court Fees - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Motion for Extension of Time - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Docketing Statement (Administrative Agency Review) - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Response to Motion for Summary Disposition - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Checklist for Briefs - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Checklist for Petition for Rehearing - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word

Juvenile Court Child Welfare Appeal to the Court of Appeals

  • Guide to Appealing a Child Welfare Case - PDF Document PDF
  • Notice of Appeal (Child Welfare) - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Waiver of Court Fees
  • Transcript Request (to be used only by someone who does not have access to a computer) - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Certificate that Transcript is not Requested - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Motion for Extension of Time - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Petition on Appeal (Child Welfare) - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Response to Petition on Appeal (Child Welfare) - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Response to Motion for Summary Disposition - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Checklist for Briefs - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Checklist for Petition for Rehearing - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word

Asking the juvenile court to order DCFS to remove a person's name from the Licensing Database

  • Verified Petition Against Substantiation in DCFS Licensing Database - PDF Document PDF | WordPerfect Document WordPerfect

Appellate Court Guides

  • Guide to Appealing a Case - PDF Document PDF
  • Guide to Filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari - PDF Document PDF
  • Guide to Filing a Petition for Review - PDF Document PDF
  • Guide to Appealing a Child Welfare Case - PDF Document PDF

Related Information


Page Last Modified: 11/16/2015
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