Having a judge rule against you in a court of law is never a desired outcome. However, a judge’s decision does not always have to be final, and there are sometimes ways to appeal the decision and try to obtain a ruling in your favor. An appeal is a request for a higher court to review your case and reverse the decision. It is a complex process, so keep in mind the following strategies to improve your odds of a favorable outcome.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
The first, and most important, thing you should do when faced with an unsuccessful court case is to contact the right attorney. In this case, an effective attorney is one who has proven appeals experience and knows how to successfully litigate an appeal in court. The process of appealing a case is very complicated. Thus, the better prepared your attorney is, and the more experience they have in applying the right strategies throughout the process, the more likely your chance is of winning your appeal.
Determine your Grounds for Appeal
You cannot file an appeal simply because you do not like the decision of the court. There must be a valid basis for the appeal that alleges a legal mistake was made during the original court proceedings. Acceptable grounds for appeal include:
- Legal errors made by the judge in the original case
- Evidence in the case that did not support the verdict
- An unfair trial
- Ineffective counsel by your attorney
Pay Attention to the Details
Accuracy and punctuality are necessary for success in any court case. But when it comes to the complex process of an appeal, these details become even more important. There are many specific rules that need to be followed throughout the appeals process. Additionally, there are many legal documents that need to be prepared and filed along the way, along with numerous deadlines that must be strictly adhered to. A mistake on any of the complicated court forms or a missed deadline can get the case dismissed.
Understand the Possible Outcomes
After the appellate court judges have completed their review, they can make the following decisions:
- Affirm – The court agrees with and upholds the decision of the lower court
- Reverse – The court disagrees with the lower court’s decision, and the appeal is won
- Remand – The court sends the case back to the lower court to consider new evidence or hold a new trial
- Reverse and Remand – The court disagrees with what happened in the lower court and sends it back to be corrected
An appeal is not a new trial and it is not an opportunity to present new evidence or witnesses. But if you feel like the court’s decision was legally incorrect, it is worth it to explore the possibility of having the facts of your case reviewed again. The attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Hamilton & Van Donselaar, Ltd have proven experience navigating the complexities and nuances of a successful appeal, and have represented clients at all levels of Illinois appellate courts and up to the United States Supreme Court. Contact our Grayslake office at 847-223-1500 for information about the appeal process or to schedule a consultation.
Additional information can be referenced here https://www.isba.org/ibj/2013/07/tentipstoimproveyourcaseonappeal