Legal Definition of Appeal

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Legal Definition of Appeal


S J Tubrazy

The word appeal is one of variable meaning. In its original and strictly technical sense, an appeal was a proceeding introduced into equity practice from the civil law by which the whole cause was removed from a lower to an appellate Court and there tried de novo upon evidence newly introduced, being subjected to a new and final determination as if it had not been tried before, and without any reference to the conclusion of the inferior Court. Today, appeal may still be used in a technical or limited sense to designate a particular form or method of review similar to the appeal in equity whereby the whole cause is removed to a superior Court for a trial de novo and complete re‑examination, but it is not always used in statutes with its strict meaning, and it has become a term of general application in the law, which has various meanings in different jurisdictions and circum­stances, and no absolutely fixed and definite meaning. This is largely due to the diversity of statutory provisions relating to appellate procedure and the different senses in which the word appeal is used therein, although it has been said that without reference to any particular statutory provision the fundamental idea of the word is that of a review of the proceedings in a trial which has already been had and not a trial of the case de novo.


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