Appellate jurisdiction is the power of a court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts. Most appellate jurisdiction is legislatively created, and may consist of appeals by leave of the appellate court or by right. Depending on the type of case and the decision below, appellate review primarily consists of: an entirely new hearing (a non trial de novo); a hearing where the appellate court gives deference to factual findings of the lower court; or review of particular legal rulings made by the lower court (an appeal on the record).
Under Article Three of the United States Constitution, the judicial power of the United States is vested in the Supreme Court of the United States and the inferior courts established by law. The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure govern appellate proceedings.
The judiciary (also known as the judicial system' or court system) is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the judiciary generally does not make law (that is, in a plenary fashion, which is the responsibility of the legislature) or enforce law (which is the responsibility of the executive), but rather interprets law and applies it to the facts of each case. This branch of the state is often tasked with ensuring equal justice under law. It usually consists of a court of final appeal (called the "Supreme court" or "Constitutional court"), together with lower courts.
In many jurisdictions the judicial branch has the power to change laws through the process of judicial review. Courts with judicial review power may annul the laws and rules of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher norm, such as primary legislation, the provisions of the constitution or international law. Judges constitute a critical force for interpretation and implementation of a constitution, thus de facto in common law countries creating the body of constitutional law.
In law, an appeal is a process for requesting a formal change to an official decision. Very broadly speaking there are appeals on the record and de novo appeals. In de novo appeals, a new decision maker re-hears the case without any reference to the prior decision maker. In appeals on the record, the decision of the prior decision maker is challenged by arguing that he or she misapplied the law, came to an incorrect factual finding, acted in excess of his jurisdiction, abused his powers, was biased, considered evidence which he should not have considered, or failed to consider evidence that he should have considered.
The result of an appeal can be:
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, apex court, and highest court of appeal. Broadly speaking, the decisions of a supreme court are not subject to further review by any other court.
In a few places, the court named the "Supreme Court" is not in fact the highest court; examples include the Supreme Court of the State of New York and the former Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales. The highest court in some jurisdictions is not named the "Supreme Court", for example, the High Court of Australia; this is because decisions by the High Court could be appealed to the Privy Council.
A trial court or court of first instance is a court in which trials take place. Such courts are said to have original jurisdiction.
A trial court of general jurisdiction is authorized to hear any type of civil or criminal case that is not committed exclusively to another court. In the United States, the United States district courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of the federal judiciary; each U.S. state has a state court system establishing trial courts of general jurisdiction, such as the Florida Circuit Courts in Florida, the Superior Courts of California in California, and the New York Supreme Court in New York.
Two English-speaking federations use the phrase "state court" to describe courts operated by their constituent states:
Two non-English-speaking federations have similar courts whose names can be translated into English as "state court":
The Alaska Court of Appeals is an intermediary court of appeals in the State of Alaska's judicial department (Alaska Court System), created in 1980 by the Alaska Legislature as an additional appellate court to lessen the burden on the Alaska Supreme Court. The court of appeals consists of a chief judge and two associate judges, who are all appointed by the governor of Alaska (see List of Governors of Alaska) and face judicial retention elections every eight years; the chief judge of the court of appeals is selected from among the three by the chief justice of the supreme court to serve a two-year term.
The court of appeals hears oral argument from lower state trial courts on a regular basis in Anchorage.