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Civil Appeals Guide  

Starting your research on how to appeal a civil court decision
Last Updated: Jan 31, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Intro and Overview Print Page

San Diego Law Library



The Law Library has four branches in San Diego County with resources to assist you with your civil appeal.



An Appeal is a proceeding in which a higher court reviews the actions taken by a lower court. It is very different from a trial.

An Appeal is NOT a  "do over" of the original case; new evidence usually cannot be introduced. The Court of Appeal will only review the Trial Court's application of the law to the facts. The reviewing court will typically only reverse a decision if a serious mistake was made in applying the law. If the Court of Appeals finds an error, it will send the case back to the trial court to make the correction.

This guide will assist you in starting your research on how to appeal a civil court decision.

For limited civil cases, small claims cases, and traffic court appeals. please see our Research Guide entitled Appeals from Limited Civil, Misdemeanor and Infraction cases, Small Claims, and from Appellate Division of Superior Court Rulings


Welcome Video from the Court of Appeal

This video is a great introduction to the appellate process for the 4th District Court of Appeal, and refers to a  Self Help Workshop.


Remember, a civil appeal is not a trial. It is an opportunity to correct previous legal errors that were prejudicial to your case. It will be heard by a panel of  three judges at the appropriate Court of Appeal.

There are heavy procedural processes involved and it is very important that you follow procedure carefully. This Guide will get you started, and refer you to resources which will assist you.

In general, appellate cases are procedurally governed by California Rules of Court 8.100 et seq. We have hard copies at all of our Library locations, including annotated versions at call number KFC 30.5 .D4. Other rules or codes may apply as well.


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