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Appellate Matters


The following provides general information about appellate matters.  There is no specific information available in this Self-Help Center to aid you with the entire legal process. Because of the complexity of appellate cases and the importance of the outcome, it is advisable that you proceed through an attorney.


Generally, an appellate case is filed because the party appealing is not satisfied with the outcome of a case to which they were a party.


If you are the one appealing the case, you are called the appellant, and the other party is the appellee. The appellant is responsible for paying a filing fee as well as the cost of serving the appellee(s).


Types of Appellate Cases

The most common types of cases are criminal and civil but almost any case can be appealed.


Where to File Appellate Cases

If you had a case in the district court and want to appeal the case, it must be filed with the circuit court in the county where the district court case was decided. There is one exception: if your case was heard before a magistrate, you may appeal the magistrate's decision in the district court where the magistrate serves by filing a written claim of appeal within 7 days of the entry of the magistrate's decision. Appellate rules applicable to circuit court are Michigan Court Rules 7.101 through 7.123.


If you had a case in the circuit court and want to appeal the case, it would typically be a matter for the Court of Appeals. Appellate rules applicable to the Court of Appeals are Michigan Court Rules 7.201 through 7.219. The Court of Appeals publishes a "Pro Per Manual" to aid nonattorneys in pursuing an appeal in that court. That manual and other helpful information is available on the Court of Appeals website. A hard copy of the manual may be picked up at any of the Court's four district offices.


If you had a case in the probate court and want to appeal the case, depending on the type of case, it must be filed with the circuit court in the county where the probate case was decided or in the Court of Appeals. See Michigan Court Rule 5.801 for information about where to file your appeal.


Processing Appellate Cases Generally

The processing of appellate cases is complex and the assistance of an attorney is recommended. In general, to initiate an appeal, a claim of appeal or application for leave to appeal must be filed with the appropriate appellate court. Care must be taken to comply with the applicable filing deadlines for initiating the appeal to avoid affecting your rights to appeal the lower court decision. The applicable time frames for filing an appeal are stated in Michigan Court Rules.  Checklists are available to help with this.


Once an appeal is initiated, the appellant will typically have additional obligations, such as making arrangements to have the transcript filed and filing an appellate brief. The brief informs the appellate court of the issues to be resolved in the appeal. The appellee may file a brief in response, but generally such a brief is not required. When the briefs have been filed, a hearing may be held to allow the parties to present their case to the court. The appeal is concluded when the court issues an order or opinion resolving the matter.


The appellant's obligations must be performed within the time frames provided in the applicable court rules. Depending on the type of case and appellate court, there will be different time frames and different requirements. Failure to comply with the time frames and requirements of the court rules may result in penalties including the dismissal of the appeal.