Salt Lake City Appellate Attorneys
Christensen Law has over 30 years of professional experience representing Salt Lake City clients in their legal matters, even in complex processes like appeals. The attorneys at the firm are aggressive in court but empathetic with their clients; you can be sure the lawyer you work with at the firm will take a personalized approach to your case and bring a tenacious fight to the courtroom. Whether you seek to file a Notice of Appeal or navigate mediation, Christensen Law can help you take necessary legal action in your appeal.
Elements of an Appeal
An appeal is a review by a court of another’s final judgment or decree. If the appeal is a case from justice court to district court, it could warrant an entirely new hearing. In most cases, though, an appeal will not be a new trial, and no new evidence will be accepted. The only information the appellate court will consider is:
- the written transcript of the hearing or trial;
- any items offered as evidence at the hearing or trial;
- the documents in the court or agency file;
- the written briefs filed in the appeal.
Note that not all cases are appealed to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals. For instance, decisions from the justice court (misdemeanor criminal, traffic, and small claims) are appealed to the district court.
An appeal begins when an individual who was involved in the original case files a Notice of Appeal with the clerk of the court that made the decision to be appealed. The appellate court will not retry the case, take new evidence, or weigh the credibility or witnesses, but it will instead be based solely upon the record created in the trial court, and the person appealing must show that the trial court made a significant mistake in the judgment that, in other circumstances, would have resulted in a different outcome.
Be aware that the Utah Supreme Court and the Utah Court of Appeals have different jurisdiction to hear appeals of different types of cases from different trial courts. More specifically, the Utah Supreme Court has the right to transfer many of its cases to the Utah Court of Appeals for decision, and an appellant could file a case with the Supreme Court, which may transfer it to the Court of Appeals.
Filing a Notice of Appeal
The appeal process starts when the appellant (the person filing) files a Notice of Appeal with the trial court. (If the case was heard in district court, the Notice of Appeal is filed with the district court, and if the case was heard in juvenile court, the Notice of Appeal is filed with the juvenile court). In most cases, the appellant must file the Notice of Appeal with the clerk of the trial court within 30 days after the date of entry of the final judgment or order being appealed, though some appeals must be filed even sooner, such as eviction cases, which have a 10-day deadline. In certain cases, individuals may request extensions from the court.
After the Notice of Appeal is filed, the trial court will certify a copy to the appellate court, who will then send a notice to the appellant that will include the appellate case number and the filing deadlines for the required documents. The appellee (the other party involved in the case) will also receive a copy of the notice.
Extending the Deadline
In some situations, a party may ask the court for more time to meet a deadline by filing a Motion for Extension of Time, as long as the motion is filed before the deadline and states:
- a good reason for extension;
- whether extensions have been requested before (if so, how many times and how long those extensions were);
- when the deadline is;
- what the party would like the new deadline to be.
Generally, appellate courts do not favor requests to extend a deadline by more than 30 days. Further, note that if an appellant wants more time to file the Notice of Appeal, they must file this request directly in the trial court.
Some cases filed with the Court of Appeals may be referred to the Appellate Mediation Office to attempt to resolve the disputed issues through mediation. Mediation can be favorable as it is often less expensive than going to court, and parties would be able to participate in the resolution process rather than have a resolution imposed by the court.
The appellate court mediator schedules a mediation conference between parties either in person or by phone. The mediator will first explain the process and identify the issues, interests, and needs of each party, then they will meet privately with each person to discuss options for settlement. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will meet with the participants to discuss the details of settlement. If they cannot agree, they must proceed to court.
Seek an Experienced Legal Advocate to Appeal Your Case
If you currently seek to appeal a judgment in Salt Lake City, it is imperative to contact an experienced attorney immediately. The appeals process can be complex, depending on the nature of the case you seek to appeal, and a skilled litigator can help you navigate the process, from filing a Notice of Appeal to requesting a filing extension to negotiating through mediation. Christensen Law will put its 30 years of experience to use fighting for your appeal case.