The Court of Appeals is an "intermediate" appellate court between the state trial courts and the Michigan Supreme Court. Generally, decisions resulting from final orders of a circuit court, as well as some probate court and agency orders, may be appealed to the Court of Appeals as a matter of right. Other lower court or tribunal decisions may be appealed only by leave of the Court. The Court of Appeals judges are elected for 6-year terms. Court of Appeals hearings are held in Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids year-round. Hearings are also scheduled in Marquette and in a northern Lower Peninsula location in the spring and fall of each year. Hearings are held before a panel of three Court of Appeals judges. At least two of the three judges must agree on the ruling. The panels are frequently rotated so that a variety of judicial opinions are considered. The decision of the panel is final unless reversed or modified by the Michigan Supreme Court or by a special panel of the Court of Appeals as provided in MCR 7.215(J).
[See MCR 7.201.]
No. Staff in the Court of Appeals Clerk's Office cannot offer legal advice on any matter. It is recommended that parties seek legal guidance from a licensed attorney admitted to practice in the State of Michigan.
Documents intended for filing with the Michigan Court of Appeals may be filed with any one of the four district offices, by mail or by hand delivery. The locations of the district offices are as follows:
3020 West Grand Boulevard, Suite 14-300
Detroit, MI 48202-6020
PH: (313) 972-5678
201 West Big Beaver Road, Suite 800
Troy, MI 48084-4127
PH: (248) 524-8700
State of Michigan Building
350 Ottawa, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2349
PH: (616) 456-1167
2nd Floor, Hall of Justice
925 West Ottawa St.
P. O. Box 30022
Lansing, MI 48909-7522
PH: (517) 373-0786
All district offices are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for court holidays.
Filings may also be submitted electronically to the Court through the Odyssey File & Serve System. More information about e-filing can be found on this web site.
[See MCR 7.201; IOP 7.201(B)(1)-(3).]
An electronic version of the Michigan Court Rules can be found on this web site. A hard copy of the rules may also be found at any local court house or law library.
There is no requirement that a party be represented by an attorney in order to file an appeal.
If you do not have a lawyer, consult the local telephone book for the number of a Lawyer Referral Service or for a complete list of lawyers in the yellow pages under Attorneys. The State Bar of Michigan provides a Lawyer Referral & Information Service that may be of assistance in locating an attorney to handle your case. The telephone number is (800) 968-0738. You may also submit a lawyer referral request on the State Bar of Michigan’s web site at www.michbar.org/programs/LRS_request.cfm. The State Bar may also be able to assist you in locating agencies that provide legal representation at no charge under certain circumstances. In addition, some employers provide a legal plan as part of their employee benefits. Check with your employer to see if this benefit is available to you.
The posting of a bond is not a prerequisite to filing an appeal. But if the trial court requires the posting of a bond, a copy of the bond must be filed with the Court of Appeals.
[See MCR 7.204(C)(4); MCR 7.209; IOP 7.204(C)(4); IOP 7.209.]
The time frame for deciding an appeal depends on various factors. Certain cases, such as child custody matters, are given priority status. In addition, the Court may order that a case be handled on an expedited basis. Such a designation will significantly lessen the time to complete the case. As a general matter, approximately ninety percent of all cases before the Court of Appeals are concluded within 18 months of their filing. The length of time to complete a case is affected by the time required for preparation of the lower court record, the filing of the parties' briefs, the volume of cases before the Court, and the Court staffing resources.
The court fees are set by statute, MCL 600.321. The filing fee for a claim of appeal, application for leave to appeal, or an original action is $375. The standard motion fee is $100 for each motion. A motion for immediate consideration or a motion to expedite an appeal requires a fee of $200 (prosecutors are exempt from this fee in an appeal from a criminal proceeding). There are provisions for waiving these fees under certain circumstances (see related FAQ).
[See IOP 7.204; IOP 7.205; IOP 7.206; IOP 7.211.]
A party seeking to have court fees waived should file a motion to waive fees. The motion should adequately indicate the reason for the request to waive fees, including details of the income or assets of the party if relevant. The inclusion of a motion to waive fees with the filing of a pleading requiring a fee will be accepted in lieu of payment of the fees at the time of filing. If the motion to waive fees is not granted, the Court will seek payment of the fee for the predicate motion but not for the motion to waive fees. Note that a fee waiver in the Court of Appeals does not apply to the lower court or the cost of transcript preparation; a party may want to contact the lower court about a fee waiver in that court.
[See MCR 2.002; IOP 7.219(G)-1.]
Parties are required to file 5 copies of all briefs with the Court of Appeals except when the briefs are e-filed. More information about e-filing can be found on this web site.
[See MCR 7.211, 7.212; IOP 7.212.]
By court rule, an opinion of the Court of Appeals must be published if it (1) establishes a new rule of law, (2) construes a provision of a constitution, statute, ordinance, or court rule, (3) alters or modifies an existing rule of law or extends it to a new factual context, (4) reaffirms a principle of law not applied in a recently reported decision, (5) involves a legal issue of continuing public interest, (6) criticizes existing law or (7) creates or resolves an apparent conflict of authority, whether or not the earlier opinion was reported. MCR 7.215(B). If a party believes that one of these standards is met in a case, the party's brief should reference the pertinent standard and include a statement as to why publication is warranted.
[See MCR 7.215(B); IOP 7.215(B)]
A party who timely files its brief on appeal and includes the statement "ORAL ARGUMENT REQUESTED" on the title page of the brief in capital letters or boldface type is entitled to oral argument. A party who files a late brief or fails to properly request oral argument waives the right to oral argument. A party who has lost the right to oral argument may file a motion with the Court requesting that the Court grant oral argument.
[See MCR 7.212(C); MCR 7.214(A); IOP 7.214(A).]
A list of the Court of Appeals holidays can be found on this website.
The computation of time is determined in accordance with MCR 1.108. This rule may be summarized by noting that (1) the first day of the pertinent time period is the day after the day of the act or event which triggers the time to begin running; (2) the last day of the pertinent time period is counted as part of the time period, unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or holiday on which the Court is closed pursuant to court order, in which case the time ends on the next day the Court is open. Saturdays, Sundays, etc., that fall within the time period (e.g., not on the last day) are counted the same as any other day.
[MCR 1.108; MCR 7.204(A); IOP 7.204(A).]
A party may request an extension of time from a deadline by filing a motion for extension of time.
[See MCR 7.211; MCR 7.212; IOP 7.212.]
Yes. The party who brought the appeal or action in the Court of Appeals may file a motion to withdraw the appeal and the clerk will enter an order of dismissal if the motion is unopposed. In addition, the parties to a case may file a signed stipulation agreeing to dismiss the case and, upon payment of all fees, the clerk will enter an order dismissing the case. However, if the case is a class action or has been assigned to a panel of judges for final disposition, the stipulation to dismiss will be submitted to a panel of judges for a determination whether to order dismissal.
[See MCR 7.218; IOP 7.218.]