Definition - What does Appellate Jurisdiction mean?
Appellate jurisdiction refers to which court possesses the power to affirm, overrule or clarify a ruling or outcome of a case in another court. Appellate jurisdiction becomes important when a party to a case wants to challenge a court's decision.
Appellate jurisdiction is a necessary part of the checks and balances built into the judiciary branch of a representative democracy.
Justipedia explains Appellate Jurisdiction
Appellate jurisdiction creates a system where decisions made by lower courts can be reviewed by higher courts. This system reflects the reality that judges make mistakes and that reasonable minds can disagree about the nature of the law.
If a party believes that an improper decision was made by the original court hearing the case, the party may appeal to a court with appellate jurisdiction. The court with appellate jurisdiction will decide if the law was applied correctly in the decision made by the original court.
Courts with appellate jurisdiction are often called courts of appeals or appellate courts. In the American legal system, the highest court of appeals with the final appellate jurisdiction is the United States Supreme Court.
Courts with appellate jurisdiction are usually less busy and hear fewer cases than lower courts. This allows appellate courts to spend more time weighing the law in each case to make a more reasoned decision.