After the Appeal

Winning the Appeal

In most civil cases, if you win your appeal, you are entitled to have your costs paid by the other side (unless the court orders otherwise).

You will need to file a memorandum of your costs in the trial court (see Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1700).

You may also be able to ask for your attorney fees if an attorney helped you for part of your case. You should ask your attorney about this.

Options after losing the appeal

If you lose your appeal, you have several options:


1. Let the decision stand

You may opt to do nothing and let the decision stand as it is.  

2. Ask the appellate court to correct an important error in its decision

If there is an important mistake in the appellate court's decision in the appeal, you can file a petition for rehearing in the appellate court asking the court to correct its mistake. A petition for rehearing gives the party that has "lost" the appeal a chance to point out important factual or legal errors, misstatements, or omissions that the appellate court may have made in its decision. Click for more information on petitions for rehearing.

3. If your case is in the appellate division of the superior court, you may be able to have the case transferred to the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal can order a case from the superior court appellate division transferred to the Court of Appeal if it decides that transfer is needed to make sure court decisions about an issue are uniform or to settle an important question of law. The Court of Appeal can order transfer on certification of the case for transfer by the appellate division, on petition for transfer by a party, or on the Court of Appeal’s own motion.

If you think the Court of Appeal needs to consider your case to make sure court decisions about an issue are uniform or to settle an important question of law, you can file an application with the appellate division to certify the case for transfer to the Court of Appeal. The application must generally be served and filed no later than 15 days after the appellate division issues its decision. The application must explain why transfer is necessary to secure uniformity of decision or to settle an important question of law. If the appellate division certifies the case for transfer, the clerk will send a copy of the order to the Court of Appeal. If the appellate division does not certify the case, you can file a petition for transfer in the Court of Appeal yourself. A petition for transfer must be served and filed no later than 15 days after the appellate division’s decision is final in that court.

It is up to the Court of Appeal to grant or deny transfer either when the appellate division certifies a case for transfer or when a party files a petition for transfer. If it denies the transfer, the clerk will notify all the parties that transfer was denied. If the Court of Appeal grants the transfer, the case will then go to the Court of Appeal and the clerk will notify you of the deadlines for briefing.

The rules and requirements for certification or transfer of an appellate division case to the Court of Appeal are detailed, and the deadlines are very short. Read rules 8.1000 – 8.1018 of the California Rules of Court to make sure you follow all the procedures and meet all the deadlines.

4. If your case is in the Court of Appeal, you can ask the California Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeal’s decision

The Supreme Court can order review of a Court of Appeal decision if it decides that review is needed to make sure court decisions about an issue are uniform or to settle an important question of law and in certain other limited circumstances (see California Rules of Court, rule 8.500(b) for the reasons that the Supreme Court can order review. 

If you think the Supreme Court needs to consider your case to make sure court decisions about an issue are uniform, to settle an important question of law, or because your case meets one of the other criteria for review listed in the rules, you can file a petition for review in the California Supreme Court. You must file this petition within 10 calendar days after the decision becomes final in the Court of Appeal. Remember that the Court of Appeal’s decision generally becomes final 30 days after the decision is filed.

Review by the California Supreme Court is extremely rare. The court only grants review in 4 to 5 percent of cases in which a petition for review is filed. Unlike with appeals in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court is not required to hear all cases filed before it. The review process allows the Supreme Court to choose the cases it wants to hear. Generally, the granting of review is limited to cases that present issues that have never come before the courts before (called “issues of first impression”), or that have an effect on a large portion of the California population, or that have had conflicting decisions made by various Courts of Appeal throughout the state.

If the Supreme Court grants review, within 30 days the petitioner must file an opening brief or the same brief it filed in the Court of Appeal. The other side then has 30 days to file an answer or a copy of the brief filed in the Court of Appeal. A petitioner’s reply brief, if filed, is then due within 20 days. The Supreme Court may also put off action while awaiting disposition of another case or may specify additional issues that must be briefed.

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