An appeal is a review by a higher court of a lower court's or agency's final judgment or decree. In most cases an appeal is not a new trial, and no new evidence will be accepted. The only information the appellate court will consider on appeal is:

  • the written or recorded transcript of the hearing or trial
  • any items offered as evidence at the hearing or trial
  • the documents in the court or agency file
  • the written briefs filed in the appeal

Appeals from Justice Court to District Court

An appeal of a justice court decision goes to the district court, and results in a trial or hearing de novo. De novo means the matter is tried all over again. This is different from other appeal procedures, in which the appellate court does not hear evidence. A Notice of Appeal must be filed with the justice court within 30 days of the entry of a justice court order or judgment.

Criminal/Traffic Cases

Small Claims Cases

  • Notice of Appeal (small claims cases) - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Utah Rule of Small Claims Procedure 12 describes the process for appealing a small claims case.
  • Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 62 governs the process to request a stay to enforce a judgment pending an appeal in a small claims case.
  • See the Small Claims web page for information about appealing a small claims case from justice court to district court.

Appeals from an Administrative Agency to District Court

Some administrative agency decisions are appealed to the District Court. See our Appealing an Administrative Agency Decision page for information and forms.

Appellate Rules

The Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure (also called Appellate Rules) explain the procedure in appeals cases. The Rules specify the deadlines for filing documents, spell out how documents must be formatted, and provide other important information. Be sure to read and follow these rules carefully.

The current Appellate Rules are available on the court's website. The Rules are also published in Utah Court Rules Annotated, which is available at all of Utah's law libraries and at some public libraries.

Appellate Pro Se Guides

  • Child Welfare Appeals
  • Pro Se Guide: Appeal Procedures for Child Welfare Appeals - PDF Document PDF
  • Pro Se Guide: Appeal Procedures - PDF Document PDF
  • Pro Se Guide: Petition for Writ of Review (Agency Review) - PDF Document PDF
  • Pro Se Guide: Procedures for Filing Petition for Writ of Certiorari - PDF Document PDF

Appellate Forms

Appellate Briefs

Briefs are the written arguments of parties stating the reasons why the appellate court should rule in their favor.

Examples of briefs submitted in other appeals can be helpful. Briefs are available from these sources:

  • The Utah State Law Library collection of briefs includes Utah Supreme Court (1929 and 1940s-current, docket # 4922-4932 and 6190- ) and Utah Court of Appeals (1986-current). This collection is the most comprehensive post-World War II collection of briefs in Utah.
  • Use the Utah State Law Library's Document Delivery Service to request copies.

Less comprehensive collections of briefs are also available at:

Briefs can be used as examples of what your brief should look like, but you must be sure to follow the requirements specified in the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure. Remember that the arguments in a brief are specific to that appeal, and may not apply to your situation.

Briefs can also be used as a legal research tool. They contain legal arguments designed to persuade the court by analyzing legal issues and citing legal sources. If you have found decisions of the Utah Supreme Court or Utah Court of Appeals that are similar to your case, library staff can help you look up the briefs to see what those parties argued.

Appellate Mediation

The Utah Court of Appeals created the Appellate Mediation Office to allow parties an alternative method of resolving their disputes. Unlike litigation and arbitration, mediation is not an attempt to judge the merits of the dispute and render a decision. Mediation is an attempt to assist the parties in understanding their interests, assessing their risks, and negotiating a mutually acceptable resolution.

Page Last Modified: 6/12/2015
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