Appeals Law

US Courts of appeals in different regional circuits

The judicial system in United States is basically comprised of two different court systems – the federal and state court systems. The federal court system includes the district courts, Circuit Courts of appeal and the Supreme Court which are responsible for handling certain type of cases and solving legal disputes in various domains. As per the appeals law any party who is not satisfied with the judgement of district courts may appeal to the Courts of Appeal within its federal judicial circuit or from other designated federal courts. The US Courts of Appeal are highly prominent and powerful as they have strong ability to set the legal standards and influence the policies of US laws.

United States Regional judicial Circuits:

  • At present, within the federal circuit there are thirteen Courts of Appeals in United States with special tribunals of Courts of Appeals for Armed forces, Veteran Claims etc. According to the appeals law each regional court is empowered to review the final verdicts of the district courts and the administrative agency decisions within its jurisdiction or from other locations except few cases that are appealable directly to the Supreme Court.

  • The 94 US judicial circuits are organized into 12 regional courts of appeals that are geographically located in various cities throughout the country with the D.C Circuit on the top looking into the large amount of specialized cases. The 13th is the United States Courts of Appeals for Federal Circuit with nationwide jurisdictions handling special appeals from trial courts including the US Court of International trade, US court of Federal claims and other patent & trademark concerning cases etc.

Important aspects of Courts of Appeals:

  • It is a general procedure of appeals law that courts of appeals conduct their reviews on the basis of the facts of the trial proceedings and typically do not hear witnesses independently or ask for additional evidence. An appellant, who loses in a federal court of appeals, or in the highest court of a state, may consider filing a petition for discretionary review or appeal in the Supreme Court.

  • As indicated by the appeals law the decisions made by the court of appeals is the final verdict in a case, unless it sends the case back to the trial court for additional proceedings, or the parties approach the Supreme Court to review the case. But the Supreme Court can hear only limited number of cases annually which ultimately makes the Courts of Appeals as the final authority on most federal cases.

Law Article Archive