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What is an Appeal?

appeal meaning

When you watch the daily news, you may hear about someone who is appealing a decision made by a Court. Have you ever wondered what an appeal is and how they work?

Under the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976, courts can hear appeals in regards to:

  • Judgments (decisions) of a single Judge in the Federal Court;
  • Judgments of a Supreme Court of a Territory other than the ACT or NT;
  • Certain judgments of the courts of a State, the ACT or NT; and
  • Certain judgments of the Federal Circuit Court.
Appeals are heard by the Full Court of three or more Judges who sit together to hear the appeal in Court. If the appeal is from a judgment made by a Judge in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or a Court of summary jurisdiction, the appeal will be heard by a single judge, who determines whether the appeal is appropriate for the Full Court.

Appeals in State Courts are heard by the court above. Appeals from the Magistrate Court are heard by the District Court and appeals from the District Court are heard by the Supreme Court.

To be successful in an appeal, you must prove that the Judge made an error in the original case. Types of errors can include:

  • Where an incorrect principle of law was applied; or
  • Where a finding was made that could not be supported by the evidence produced.
In an appeal case, you cannot bring forward new evidence, unless there are special circumstances. No witnesses are required either. The Judge’s simply read through relevant documents, transcripts of the original case and listens to the legal argument from both parties.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: January 10, 2016.

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