FAQs

Civil Appeals - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I argue my case orally instead of in writing (in a brief)?

A: No. The appellant MUST prepare, serve, and file a written brief. Oral argument after the briefs are filed is optional.

The respondent does not have to file a brief.  But if the respondent chooses not to file a brief, the court can decide the appeal on the record, the appellant's brief, and any oral argument by the appellant, so the respondent will lose the chance to make his or her argument about the issues in the case.

Click to learn more about briefs from this self-help site or click for information about appellate briefs provided by the Courts of Appeal. Also, the Court of Appeal districts have self-help manuals, and practices and procedures with sample briefs you can use as guides.

Q: Where can I read about the law on civil appeals?

A:  For the law on civil appeals, read the California Code of Civil Procedure sections 901–914 and the California Rules of Court, especially Title 8 on Appellate Rules

Also, law libraries, self-help legal books, or research guides may be helpful. Click here to find resources to help you research the law.

 

Q: Where can I find more information about appealing civil cases?

A: For an appeal of:

  • A limited civil case - (civil cases involving an amount that is $25,000 or less), read the Information on Appeal Procedures for Limited Civil Cases (Form APP-101-INFO).
  • An unlimited civil case - (civil cases involving an amount over $25,000 and family law cases), read the Information on Appeal Procedures for Unlimited Civil Cases (Form APP-001).

 

Q: I am filing an appeal of a juvenile case. Do I have to designate the record?

A: No. In juvenile appeals (dependency and delinquency), what is included in the record is set by the rules of court, so you do not need to complete this step.

Q: Where can I get information about all the Courts of Appeal in California and how they can help me?

For more information on each of the districts and where you can get help, visit the "Appellate Courts" information page. For more information including their local rules, forms, and case information, visit the Courts of Appeal site.  Click for a district map of California that helps you figure out under which appellate district your county falls.

Q: What happens to my appeal if I do not pay the court filing fees?

A: If you do not pay the fees and the court does not waive them, or if your check bounces, the court will send you a notice that you have 15 days to pay the fee or have it waived. If you do not do this within 15 days, the court may dismiss your appeal.

If the court dismisses your appeal but you had a good reason why your payment was late, you can file a motion to reinstate the appeal. If the court grants the motion to reinstate the appeal, it will give you a specific time to make your payment.

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