Trial & Appellate in Skinner Professional Law of Bay City, MI

Trial Court

A trial court is a court of original jurisdiction where evidence and testimony are first introduced, received and considered. Findings of fact and law are made in the trial court, and the findings of law may be appealed to a higher court that has the power of review.

A trial court of general jurisdiction may hear any civil or criminal case that is not already exclusively within the jurisdiction of another court. Examples include the United States district courts on the federal level and state-level trial courts such as the Michigan Supreme Courts and the Michigan Circuit Courts. The lawyers at the Skinner Law Firm are admitted to practice in all of the courts in Michigan including the trial and appellate courts at both the state and federal level.  The firm also has attorneys admitted to practice in the bankruptcy courts.

A trial court of limited jurisdiction may only hear specific kinds of cases based on subject matter, amount in controversy, statutory grant or administrative matters.

For Bay County trial courts, click here.

Appellate Court

An appellate court is a higher court that reviews the decision of a lower court when a losing party files an appeal.

Appellate procedure consists of the rules and practices by which appellate courts review trial court judgments. Appellate review performs several functions, including: the correction of errors committed by the trial court, development of the law, achieving a uniform approach across courts, and the pursuit of justice, more generally.

Appellate procedure focuses on several main themes: what judgments are appealable, how appeals are brought before the court, what will be required for a reversal of the lower court (e.g., a showing of “abuse of discretion,” “clear error,” etc.), and what procedures parties must follow.

Appealable issues are commonly limited to “final judgments.” There are, however, exceptions to the “final judgment rule.” They include: instances of plain or fundamental error by the trial court, questions of subject-matter jurisdiction of the trial court, or constitutional questions.

Argument in appellate court centers around written briefs prepared by the parties. These state the questions on appeal and enumerate the legal authorities and arguments in support of each party’s position.

Only a few jurisdictions allow for oral argument as a matter of course. Where allowed, oral argument is intended to clarify legal issues presented in the briefs. Ordinarily, oral arguments are subjected to a time limit extended only upon the discretion of the court.
Federal appellate courts are governed by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. State appellate courts are governed by their own state rules of appellate procedure.

For the Michigan Court of Appeals, click here.

Source: Cornell University Law School

Skinner Professional Law Corp.

701 E. South Union  •  Bay City, MI 48707-0098
Phone: (989) 893-5547  •  Fax: (989) 893-5549
Toll Free: (888) WHIZLAW or (888) 944-9529