Intermediate Appellate Court

Intermediate Appellate Court in the United States

An appeals court structurally located between trial courts and a court of last resort. The jurisdiction and organization of intermediate appellate courts varies from state to state. Typically, these courts review decisions from the general jurisdiction trial courts and specified administrative agencies. A number of states have only one intermediate court, while others, generally the larger states and the federal government, separate their intermediate courts geographically into regions or districts. The federal intermediate appellate court, the U.S. court of appeals, is divided regionally into units known as circuits. There is also some variation in the jurisdiction of the intermediate courts. Some states, for example, authorize one intermediate court to review civil cases, while another hears criminal appeals. The entire membership of an intermediate appeals court may review a case, in which case the court sits en banc. More often, however, judges are assigned to panels of three for the review of individual cases.

See Also

Appellate Jurisdiction (Judicial Organization) Mandatory Jurisdiction (Judicial Organization), 275; UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS, 7 1.

Analysis and Relevance

Intermediate appellate courts have been established to reduce the volume of cases seeking review by courts of last resort. It was to unburden the Supreme Court that Congress established the U.S. court of appeals in 1891. The jurisdiction of most intermediate courts is mandatory; they have no discretion over the cases they review. In the United States, litigants are entitled to one round of appeal. Making review mandatory is intended to satisfy this obligation at the intermediate level. Indigent criminal defendants wishing to exercise the right to one appeal are entitled to assistance of counsel at this level. Establishment of intermediate courts has reduced Supreme Court caseloads, but only modestly and typically not for the long term. Rather, after a period of time, the presence of a new intermediate court tends to prompt the filing of more appeals.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Intermediate Appellate Court from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Intermediate Appellate Court: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Intermediate Appellate Court. This part provides references, in relation to Intermediate Appellate Court, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Intermediate Appellate Court by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Intermediate Appellate Court and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Intermediate Appellate Court or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Intermediate Appellate Court and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Intermediate Appellate Court. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Intermediate Appellate Court should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Intermediate Appellate Court when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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