The Appellate Process

The appellate courts play an important role in explaining what our laws mean and, especially in cases involving fundamental rights, their decisions can have far-reaching effects that impact daily life. Appellate decisions impact diverse communities, and often disproportionately impact Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. 

Appeals can bring about systemic changes by addressing repeated patterns of racial disparity. Federally, termination of parental rights is an appeal of right and therefore requires a right to an attorney. For these reasons, issue preservation at the trial level and identification of systemic issues to address on appeal are key. In cases where there are separate offices or several attorneys handling the appeals, it is important to have these attorneys communicate with each other, speak to their clients at all levels of involvement, especially the appellate process.

FJI has created guidesbrochures, and toolkits to improve the appellate practice for both parents, youth, trial and appellate attorneys.