In law, an appeal is a process for requesting a formal change to an official decision. Very broadly speaking there are appeals on the record and de novo appeals. In de novo appeals, a new decision maker re-hears the case without any reference to the prior decision maker. In appeals on the record, the decision of the prior decision maker is challenged by arguing that he or she misapplied the law, came to an incorrect factual finding, acted in excess of his jurisdiction, abused his powers, was biased, considered evidence which he should not have considered, or failed to consider evidence that he should have considered.
The result of an appeal can be:
- Affirmed: Where the reviewing court agrees with the result of the lower courts ruling(s).
- Reversed: Where the reviewing court disagrees with the result of the lower courts ruling(s), and overturns their decision.
- Remanded: Where the reviewing court sends the case back to the lower court.
There can be multiple outcomes, so that the reviewing court can affirm some rulings, reverse others and remand the case all at the same time. Remand is not required where there is nothing left to do in the case. "Generally speaking, an appellate court's judgment provides 'the final directive of the appeals courts as to the matter appealed, setting out with specificity the court's determination that the action appealed from should be affirmed, reversed, remanded or modified'".
Some reviewing courts who have discretionary review may send a case back without comment other than review improvidently granted. In other words, after looking at the case, they choose not to say anything. The result for the case of review improvidently granted is effectively the same as affirmed, but without that extra higher court stamp of approval.
- State v. Randolph, 210 N.J. 330, 350 n.5 (2012), citing Mandel, New Jersey Appellate Practice (Gann Law Books), chapter 28:2
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