Appellate Terminology

Appellate: The adjective that refers to appeals (e.g., an “appellate” court is a court that handles appeals. It can be either an intermediate Court of Appeal or a Supreme Court).

Appellant: The party filing an appeal, i.e. the party that lost at the trial court.

Appellee: The term used in federal court for the party defending an appeal. In state court, this party is called the “respondent.”

Appendix: A bound volume – or set of volumes – of documents filed in the trial court that can be made part of the record before the California Court of Appeal. This is an alternative to having a “Clerk’s Transcript” (see below). The fundamental difference is that the trial court compiles the Clerk’s Transcript based on instructions given very soon after the notice of appeal is filed, whereas the parties themselves prepare the Appendix (separately or jointly) and file this with the Court of Appeal with their briefs.

Brief: The written document that contains the argument that is central to the appeals process.

Clerk’s Transcript: A bound volume of documents filed in the trial court that – along with the actual transcripts – make up the record in the California Court of Appeal. See also “Appendix,” above.

Court of Appeal: The name of the California appellate court.

Court of Appeals: The name of the federal appellate court.

Interlocutory appeals: An “interlocutory” appeal is one that is filed before the final judgment in the case from which it arises.

Justice:  The title of a judge in the California Court of Appeal

Reporter’s Transcript: The transcribed proceedings of what went on in the trial court. .

Respondent: The term used in state court for the party defending an appeal. In federal court, this party is called the “appellee.”

Writ: An order from a higher court ordering a lower court to do something. Writs provide a discretionary process for review by the appellate courts of trial court rulings that are not immediately appealable.