Understanding the difference between appellate courts and trial courts is essential as that lets you know when you need to hire an appeal or trial lawyer. There are some significant differences between these two courts. A trial court is where the case starts, and an appellate court is where it is taken up again in case one of the parties is not happy with the verdict given. Since the nature of witnesses, judges, and juries are all different for these two courts, the appeal lawyer and trial lawyer also come with vastly different skillset.
Differences Between Appeal And Trial Courts
The following are the three main differences between trial and appeal courts.
- The Exhibits And Witnesses
In a trial court, both sides show evidence to present their account of the incident. Most of the proof offered in a trial court comes from eyewitnesses and exhibits. However, in the appellate courts, there are no evidence or witnesses. In appellate courts, the appeal lawyers directly debate policy and legal issues in front of the judges. In the trial courts, the lawyers show legal arguments and evidence to convince the jury or judge in the bench trial.
- The Judges
The other difference between the trial and appeal courts is the judges. In trial courts, there is usually one judge present in the courtroom. The trial court judge decides the evidence that cannot and can be used. It often resolves the result of the case. In most of the appeal courts, the cases are decided by more than one judge. There is generally a group of three to five judges. However, in some appeal courts for taxes, there can be only one judge.
- 3. The Focus Of The Proceedings
An appeal court puts its emphasis on the question of law, and the trial court puts the focus on the issue of facts. The appeal judges want to understand if the law was applied rightfully or not and the appeal lawyers help in presenting the two sides to him.
- The Presence Of A Jury
A jury consists of a group of citizens who listen to the ongoing case and then decides upon the verdict. A trial court can have a jury to help in the verdict of the case. In both civil and criminal trials, the jury is present to decide upon the case. However, in the appeal court, you only register the aid of the top appeal attorneys to argue your side, and there is no jury for presenting a verdict.
Appeal courts do not simple rehear the facts of the case. Such courts are keen to find the loopholes in the judgement. Thus, the job of an appellate lawyer becomes more difficult.