Welcome to the California Courts of Appeal knowledge center. This guide can help you understand what happens when a party who loses in the superior or trial court appeals the decision.
Here you can learn about every step of an appeal and find general information about the requirements for all parties. This includes the basic rules and fees, plus important forms and deadlines.
Who can this resource help?
This guide may help anyone who is involved in an appeal, especially a party who does not have a lawyer. A person who represents themselves may be called a self-represented litigant, pro per, or pro se.
This is only a resource for appeals that are processed in the California Courts of Appeal. Examples of these types of appeals include unlimited civil cases (cases involving a dispute over $25,000 or more), family law cases, probate cases, and temporary restraining orders.
For information about appeals in limited civil cases, contact the appellate division of the superior court in your case. For information on appeals in criminal cases, speak with the attorney who represented you in the superior court.
How do I use this resource?
Here you can explore how the appeal process works step-by-step, starting from the beginning. You’ll learn who can appeal, how to get a record of what happened in the trial court, what’s in a legal brief, and more. You can review each step to find out what to expect and what you may need to do.
This guide is designed for you to see the steps of an appeal in the order they must be completed.
- In the Appeals Timeline, you can find a short summary of each step in an appeal.
- In the Knowledge Center, you can find more detailed information about each step of an appeal. This includes videos, forms, links to additional resources, and answers to frequently asked questions.
- In the Prepare Documents section, you can get court forms for an appeal.
You can navigate by using the menu at the top of this page or the menu on the left side of this page. There’s also a search function and a glossary of legal terms to help you.
Where does an appeal happen in California? Where can I learn more?
Appeals in unlimited civil cases are heard in a Court of Appeal. There is no new trial in a Court of Appeal. Instead, a panel of justices looks at the facts from the original trial to decide if there was a legal mistake and if the mistake affected the final decision.
There are six districts of the Court of Appeal and they are located in different parts of the state. More resources and information are available on each Court of Appeal website, and some courts have self-help centers. Find your Court of Appeal
Is this resource legal advice?
No. The information provided here is not legal advice and may not be used as legal authority. This guide is a summary of the California Rules of Court for unlimited civil appeals and does not replace or supersede the California Rules of Court. All parties in an appeal are expected to follow the California Rules of Court, and the rules change over time. If the information on this website differs from the California Rules of Court, you must follow the California Rules of Court. Review the current rules here
It will help if you ask a lawyer with experience in appeals to review your case. Even if you represent yourself, a consultation with a lawyer can help you decide if you can or should file an appeal, or help you decide how best to argue against an appeal.