Appellate Courts

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DEFINITION of 'Appellate Courts'

The part of the judicial system that is responsible for hearing and reviewing appeals from legal cases that have already been heard in a trial-level or other lower court. Persons or entities such as corporations having an unsuccessful outcome in a trial-level or other lower court may file an appeal with an appellate court to have the decision reviewed. Appellate courts are present at the state and federal levels.

BREAKING DOWN 'Appellate Courts'

Appellate courts exist as part of the judicial system to provide those who have judgments made against them an opportunity to have their case reviewed. A corporation with an unfavorable judgment against them will likely see a drop in share price but an appeal could overturn this previous ruling. If an appeal is successful, the stock price usually jumps.


Courts at the appellate level review the findings and evidence from the lower court and determine if there is sufficient evidence to support the determination made by the lower court. In addition, the appellate court will determine if the trial or lower court correctly applied the law. The highest form of an appellate court in the United States is the United States Supreme Court which hears only appeals of major importance and consequence.

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