Appeal as A Matter of Right
- An appeal as a matter of right refers to a party's right to appeal a lower court's decision, without needing approval from any court.
- A discretionary appeal refers to an appellate court's discretion to decide whether it chooses to accept a party's appeal from a lower court decision.
Federal Court System:
In the federal court system, the circuit courts have appellate jurisdiction over the cases of the district courts, and the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of the circuit courts.
State Court Systems:
Each state has its own state court system. While the names of the courts differ from state to state, each state's system allows for appellate jurisdiction of some kind. However, each state, typically by statute, determines whether its appellate jurisdiction is based on appeals as a matter of right, discretion appeals, or a combination of the two. Most states extend appeals as a matter of right to all appeals from trial cases.
For example, the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure Rule 9.140 creates special rules for appeals of criminal cases.
[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]