An individual can appeal civil court judgments by having an attorney file a notice of appeal with the appeals court in the appropriate jurisdiction, notes the American Bar Association. The appeal should be based on a mistake made on the part of the original trial court not just an unfavorable outcome.
After filing motions to appeal, attorneys file written arguments with the appeals court that state any facts related to the reason for the appeal and the legal basis upon which the attorney is seeking a reversal of the trial court decision, states the American Bar Association. The litigant who won the original trial court judgment can then file his own brief in response. Some appeals courts make their decisions based solely on these written briefs, while others schedule oral arguments before making decisions.
During oral arguments, attorneys for both sides are given the opportunity to explain their positions and may be required to answer questions posed by appeals court judges, according to the American Bar Association. The appellate court judge or panel determines if an error occurred in the trial court that was serious enough to overturn the original judgment. If an appeals court judge does not overturn a decision, an appellant may be able to appeal again to a higher appeals court.