Options to Appealing

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Before you appeal, find out if an appeal is the best option. An appeal may not be the correct or easiest way to try to address what you feel was a wrong with the trial court’s decision.
Depending on the circumstances in your case, you may be able to file a motion asking the court to change, fix, or cancel the judgment against you. Some of the more common motions are: a motion to vacate or set aside (cancel) the judgment and enter a different judgment, a motion for reconsideration of an order, an application for renewal, or a motion for a new trial.

Motion to vacate or set aside the judgment
This is when a party that is affected by a trial court's judgment or order asks the same court to cancel the judgment or order that was made. There are different laws that apply in different cases, and usually you have to meet very specific requirements to be able to file a motion to set aside or to vacate. Your court's self-help center may be able to help you; if your case is a family law case, talk to your court's family law facilitator, or you can talk to a lawyer for advice.

Motion for reconsideration
This is when a party that is affected by a trial court's order asks the same court to reconsider the order, based on new facts, circumstances, or law. You must file a motion for reconsideration within 10 days of being served with the written notice of entry of the order you want the court to reconsider. The motion must also include an affidavit with information about the original order and the new facts, circumstances, or law. The requirements are very specific.

For more information, see California Code of Civil Procedure section 1008(a).

Application for renewal
This is when the same party who made a motion (a request for an order) that was refused (the entire motion or just part) asks a judge (same or different) to grant the order. This request must be based on new facts, circumstances, or law. There is no time limit. The application must also include an affidavit with information on the original order and the new facts, circumstances, or law.

For more information, see California Code of Civil Procedure section 1008(b).

Motion for a new trial
A motion for new trial asks the trial court to reexamine 1 or more issues of fact or law after a trial and decision by the judge or jury. There are a number of reasons why someone can ask for a new trial, such as jury misconduct; an irregularity with the jury, a party, or a lawyer in the case; insufficient evidence for the verdict; excessive or inadequate damages; an irregularity in the case that prevented one of the parties from having a fair trial; and others. The law allowing a judge to grant a new trial is based on California Code of Civil Procedure section 657.


Your court's self-help center may be able to give you some information about your options or you can talk to a lawyer about your case. Click for help finding a lawyer. For family law cases, you can talk to your family law facilitator.

Either before or after you appeal, consider settlement or mediation. You may be able to reach an agreement about resolving your dispute with the other side instead of going through the appeal process.

Remember: You still have to meet the filing deadline for the appeal, even if you are trying to settle. That way, if you cannot work out a settlement or agreement, you can still take the case to the appellate court. If you miss your deadline for the notice of appeal because you were trying to mediate or settle, you will have lost your chance to file an appeal. So, unless you have already reached a settlement, make sure you file your notice of appeal within the deadline even if you are trying to reach an agreement with the other side.

If you have filed your notice of appeal, the Court of Appeal or superior court appellate division may have a mediation or settlement program that can help you explore settlement. Each court may be different, so make sure you ask your superior court (if appealing a limited case) or your Court of Appeal (if appealing an unlimited civil case) if any programs like this are available.

To get more information about your Court of Appeal’s settlement or mediation programs, click on the court's name.

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