Your Guide on Appealing a Court’s Decision
When it comes to matters of family law, it can often be hard to accept a decision that a judge has made as it often affects areas of our lives that matter most to us. However, it is possible to have the case reconsidered in some circumstances where there is legitimate reason to believe that the judge made an error. This is called an appeal, but before you decide to go down this avenue, there are a few things you should be aware of.
What is the process of filing for an appeal?
As mentioned previously, you cannot appeal a decision simply because you are unhappy with it; you must prove that there are valid grounds on which to assume that there was an error in law or fact. Because of this, you must follow a strict procedure to ensure that all the necessary needs are met within a specific timeframe.
The process is as follows…
Within 28 days of an order being made from a judge, a Notice of Appeal can be filed in the Regional Appeal Registry. When doing so, the appellant must pay a filing fee.
An appellant must also submit a draft index to the appeal books within 28 days of filing the Notice of Appeal. If this requirement is not met within the prescribed timeframe, the appeal is considered to be abandoned.
Once the draft index is filed, the appeal is then taken to a procedural hearing. During this hearing, the appellant will receive orders in regards to what documents and other information is required for the Full Court hearing.
Appeal hearings are taken before the Full Court, which in family law is three judges from the Family Court.
What you should know before pursuing an appeal
Like any legal process, appeals can be lengthy, expensive and very emotionally taxing on all parties involved. Before you file for appeal, it is important that you speak to an experienced family lawyer about your options and get their advice as to whether you should proceed in this direction.
An important thing to remember during this process is that appealing a court’s decision does not stop that order taking effect. This means that all parties involved must obey the order handed down from the court until it is overturned by the Full Court, if it is at all. Your may therefore wish to apply for a “stay” of the original decision until the appeal has been heard. Your lawyer can assist you with this process also.
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