Appellate Practice

Our Practitioners Can Navigate Your Case Through The Appellate Process

In the absence of glaring legal errors, most appeals must follow a narrow path to be successful.  North Carolina appellate courts typically hear and correct legal errors by lower courts and administrative agencies.  The ability to appeal depends on the origin of your case and the nature of the decision from which appeal is taken.  

Appellate advocacy begins well before the appeal is actually filed.  A successful appeal requires attorneys to recognize error by lower courts and object to the error in order to preserve it for appeal.  Appellate courts do not usually determine the facts of a case and must often give deference to the facts found by the tribunal below.  Our attorneys have the trial experience, legal knowledge, and appellate skill to secure review and present your arguments through an appeal of right, discretionary review, or extraordinary writ.  We understand appellate remedies and counsel our clients accordingly.

At Anderson Jones, PLLC, we recognize that an unfavorable adjudication may merely be the end of the beginning of your case.  We advise our clients regarding their appellate options as a component of their overall dispute resolution strategy.  We also collaborate with or can replace your trial counsel for a fresh perspective and review of appellate issues.  Because appellate deadlines approach rapidly, and a confidential assessment should be scheduled as soon as a decision about appeal arises.

What to Know About Appellate Practice

Appellate practice typically seeks redress from error in a final decision that determines all disputed issues.  Appellate practice does not include intermediate appeals that follow the judicial or administrative process of lower tribunals.  Some decisions affect a substantial right, and appellate courts may review these for error even though the decision appealed is incomplete.

An appeals court is empowered to fix material legal errors.  Appeals are governed by rules of appellate procedure, and it is crucial that your appellate counsel know and follow these rules.  Important aspects of the appeals process in North Carolina include: 

  • Time to Appeal: In North Carolina, the typical time for an appeal is 30 days following a final judgment or award. The time to appeal may be established by statute and may be less than 30 days.  If you do not know the time you have to appeal, failing to give notice of appeal can be fatal, and you may have to rely on the discretion of the court.
  • Standard of Review:  The manner in which a Court reviews an appeal depends on the tribunal and procedural posture from which appeal is taken.  Discretionary decisions are difficult to overturn, while rulings that preempt full adjudication are more favorable to appealing parties. 
  • An Appeal Is Not A New Trial: Appeals are for review of errors and are not new trials.  Appellate courts review the record of lower court proceedings. Typically, they do not consider new evidence, find facts, or re-evaluate the credibility of witnesses or weight of the evidence.
  • Unraised Arguments are Waived: To challenge a lower court’s decision, you must raise specific grounds or errors. These may include erroneous legal conclusions, procedural errors, findings that are unsupported by evidence, or application of incorrect legal standards. Any ground for appeal that is not presented by the appealing party is considered waived.
  • Dismissal for Rules Violations:  The Rules of appellate procedure are intended to assist appellate judges and justices in their review of contested cases.  When rules violations impede their review, they may dismiss the appeal without considering its merits.

How the Appellate Practice at Anderson Jones Can Help

At Anderson Jones, PLLC, we recognize that successful appeals start with litigating attorneys who identify and object to legal errors in pre-trial proceedings and adjudications.  Preservation of the grounds for appeal is the essential first step to overturning an unfavorable decision.  Through timeliness, rules compliance, and persuasive advocacy, we create the best opportunity for our clients to prevail on appeal.  

When you reach out to our Raleigh office, you can rest assured that your appellate interests will be preserved and presented to an appellate Court.   We can review your case and assume control or collaborate with existing counsel  to develop a comprehensive strategy to advocate for a favorable appellate outcome. 

If you have any questions about the appeals process, contact us today for a fully private case review throughout North Carolina.