The Appellate Division of Superior Court reviews cases from trial courts, the Tax Court, and state agencies.
The How to Appeal a Trial Court, Tax Court, or State Agency Decision kit is most used in appeals.
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What You Need to Know Before Filing
- Appeals can be expensive and time-consuming. The process can take more than a year.
- The Appellate Division can only review your case if it has jurisdiction. It does not have jurisdiction until the trial court or agency issues a final judgment or order.
- Oral decisions cannot be appealed. You will need to include a copy of the final judgment or order in your appeal.
- Appeals from final judgments of courts shall be filed within 45 days of their entry, except for the exceptions listed at R. 2:4-1. Appeals from final agency decisions shall be filed within 45 days from the date of service of the decision or notice of the action taken. See R. 2:4-1 for filing deadlines in other matters.
- If you want to appeal some part of your case before a final order is issued, you can file a motion for leave to appeal.
- Appeals can only be about legal errors in your case. Disagreeing with the outcome of a case is not grounds for appeal.
- You will need to buy a transcript or recording of your case. You can obtain it before filing or include the request with your appeal.
- Appellate court opinions are published online. The public will be able review your case details.
- Businesses must be represented by an attorney to file an appeal. Sole proprietors are the only business owners who can represent themselves in court.
To file an appeal, you will need:
- The completed appeal forms.
- Research on the laws and legal precedence pertaining to your case.
- Understanding of the Rules of Court.
- Written brief(s) following the strict standards stated in the court rules.
- Funds for filing the appeal, motions, and court transcripts.
|Filing a motion to appeal||$250|
|Filing a motion for leave to appeal||$ 50|
|Court Transcripts||Typically, over $1,000 per full day of trial.|
What is a fee waiver?
You may be able to file your case without paying the filing fee if you qualify. Complete the Fee Waiver form and submit the required documents to the court to see if you meet the guidelines.
You can apply for a fee waiver in any NJ state court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Superior Court and Tax Court.
Court filing and copy fees might be waived for litigants who
- Have income at or below 150 percent of the current poverty level (based on the number of people in the household; AND
- Have no more than $2,500 in liquid assets such as cash or bank accounts.
When to file an application for a fee waiver
Under Court Rule 1:5-6, the court clerk cannot file your case unless the required fee is included. In order to keep your case moving forward as quickly as possible, a fee waiver request should be filed with the court at the same time that you file your court case.
You can apply for a fee waiver even if you have a lawyer.
You may still request a fee waiver if your attorney either
- works for Legal Services of New Jersey or an associated regional program; OR
- works for a public interest or legal services organization, law school clinic or pro bono program that has been certified for fee waiver status by the Supreme Court under Court Rule 1:21-11.
Applying for a fee waiver in an appeal of a Superior Court case
To apply for a fee waiver in the Appellate Division of Superior Court, you must submit your application in the Superior Court in the county where your case was first filed. If your application is denied in Superior Court, you then have 20 days to apply for a fee waiver in the Appellate Division.
Applying for a fee waiver in an appeal of an agency determination
Fee waivers in appeals of administrative agency decisions should be filed directly with the Appellate Division of Superior Court in Trenton.
If you win more than $2,000 in your court case, you will be required to pay back the filing fee for your case.
The public usually has the right to view fee waiver applications that have been filed with the court.
You may only file an application for a fee waiver for yourself. You may not apply for a fee waiver for anyone else, even if you have a Power of Attorney.
Appeals require in-depth knowledge of laws and legal processes. It is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services.
Legal Services of New Jersey maintains a directory of regional legal services offices.
The NJ State Bar Association also maintains a list of county referral services that might be helpful.
If you are appealing your criminal case, you might qualify for a lawyer at public expense. Complete the Notice of Motion form and the Certification of Service (Forms D and E in the standard How to File an Appeal kit)
- For indictable cases, make copies of the forms and send the signed originals to:
Office of the Public Defender
31 Clinton Street
P.O. Box 46003
Newark, New Jersey 07101
- For non-indictable or quasi-criminal appeals, make copies and deliver the signed originals to the county counsel where the trial court case was heard.
The Appellate Division Clerk's Office can give you basic guidance on the appeals process. We cannot help you with the following tasks:
- We cannot help you do the legal research that you will probably need before you can begin writing your appellate brief.
- We cannot help you assemble the documents that you will need for the appendix.
- We cannot help you write your procedural history, statement of facts, or legal arguments that will be required in your appellate brief.
Forms and Instructions
Use the packet How to Appeal a Trial Court, Tax Court, or State Agency Decision to appeal those case types. This packet includes the forms listed below.
- Notice of Appeal
- Court Transcript Request
- Civil Case Information Statement
- Criminal Case Information Statement
- Notice of Motion
- Certification of Service
If you are appealing a Board of Review decision, use the Board of Review Appeal Packet instead.
Read the Guidelines for Entertaining Emergent Applications before asking the Appellate Division to hear the appeal ahead of its other scheduled cases. If you believe your case meets the criteria for an emergent matter, you can submit the Application for Permission to File Emergent Motion.
Where to File
Attorneys must file appeals in eCourts.
Self-represented litigants can file by email, by mail, or in person.
|File by email|
|File by mail|
|File in person|
Callfor more information.
Email Instructions for Notice of Appeal
If you are using email, only send the notice of appeal, case information statement, copy of the order being appealed, transcript request form and any motions, along with a supporting certification explaining why the motion should be granted. Do not send exhibits or other documents at this time. Once your submission is reviewed, the court will send a letter asking for your original documents and required copies, payment, and any needed corrections. You must submit the documents to the court within 15 days of receiving the letter.
Email Instructions for Motion for Leave to Appeal
If you are using email, only send the motion for leave to appeal, copy of order being appealed and the proof of service. Once your submission is reviewed, the court will send a letter asking for your original documents and required copies, payment, and any needed corrections. You must submit the documents to the court within 10 days of receiving the letter.
Email Instructions for Motion to File as Within Time
If you are using email, only send the motion, copy of order being appealed, certification in support of motion and the proof of service. Once your submission is reviewed, the court will send a letter asking for your original documents and required copies, payment, and any needed corrections. You must submit the documents to the court within 15 days of receiving the letter.
If you have a case manager and you have a filing under 15MB, please email your case manager (first firstname.lastname@example.org).
Deadlines for Filing Notice of Appeal
|Superior Court Appeals||45 days after the signed final judgment is filed|
|State Agency Appeals||45 days after notice of the agency's decision is received|
|Termination of Parental Rights||21 days after the signed termination order is filed|
Deadlines for Transcripts, Briefs, and Appendices
|Appellant||Submits transcript request form||One copy to the Appellate Division||At the time the Notice of Appeal or Motion for Leave to Appeal is Filed.|
|Court reporter or transcription agency||Delivers transcript to appellant||One copy to appellant; one copy to the Appellate Division||Within 30 days of receiving deposit for standard transcript requests.|
|Appellant||Delivers transcript to respondent and to the Court||One copy to respondent; three copies to the Appellate Division||Within 10 days of receiving transcript, but no later than when the brief is filed.|
|Appellant||Delivers brief and appendix to the court and to respondent||Two copies to each respondent; Five copies to the Appellate Division||Within 45 days after receiving transcript. If no verbatim record was made, within 45 days of filing the appeal.|
|Respondent||Delivers reply brief and appendix to the court and to the appellant||Two copies to the appellant; Five copies to the Appellate Division||Within 30 days after receiving appellant's brief and appendix.|
|Appellant||May choose to file a reply brief after respondent files a brief||Two copies to the respondent; Five copies to the Appellate Division||Within 14 days after receiving respondent's brief and appendix|
|Respondent||May choose to file a cross-appeal||Two copies to the appellant; Five copies to the Appellate Division||Within 15 days of receiving notice of appeal or order granting leave to appeal|
The Appellate Division could issue its own scheduling order with different deadlines from those listed above.
Preparing Briefs and Appendices
Creating a brief is a vital part of your appeal. Use the Build-a-Brief Creator for this process. For reference, use the Letter Brief Sample or Formal Brief Sample. Review the Appellate Division Checklist for Preparation of Brief to ensure that your brief is complete before submitting.
The court will not accept documents that do not meet the requirements set out in the Rules of Court.
- The brief must be typed or clearly handwritten, double spaced, on 8½" x 11" paper.
- All documents, including exhibits in the appendix, must be legible.
- Brief covers must be heavy paper or card stock. Do not use a plastic or glassine cover. Brief covers are color-coded:
- Appellant’s brief: White cover
- Respondent’s brief: Blue cover
- Appellant’s reply brief: Buff (light tan) cover
- All motion briefs: White cover
- All motion respondent briefs: Blue cover
- Staple or fasten the brief securely along the left margin or upper left-hand corner.
- The brief must include the name, address, and daytime phone number of the submitting party.
Contents of Brief and Appendix
Briefs should include the following. Consult the Build-a-Brief form for details.
- Procedural history: a short summary of each step in the case.
- Keep the history brief.
- Tell it like a story, but you do not need to give every little detail.
- List specific dates and documents that support your story.
- Statement of facts: a list of the facts that the court agreed were true.
- Refer to relevant items in the appendix whenever possible.
- Do not introduce new documents or evidence that were not part of the original case.
- Legal argument: a point-by-point argument of how the court erred when it applied the law to the facts of the case.
- Appendix should include the following:
- All pretrial orders,
- The original complaint that filed in the lower court or with the agency.
- The answer filed in the lower court or agency.
- The notice of appeal or the motion papers if the appeal is being heard on a motion for leave to appeal.
- If the exhibits are too bulky to include in the appendix, submit a letter to the Clerk's office, with a copy to the other party. The letter should itemize and identify the exhibits, including the approximate size and bulk of each. The clerk’s office will let you know if they need to be submitted.
- Enter the filing date of each document in the appendix at the head of the page.
- Only include documents that were provided to the court, and the dates they were filed
- Include a Table of Contents
- Create one table of contents if the brief and appendix are bound together. Create separate tables of contents if the brief and appendix are bound separately.
- For the brief, the Table of Contents should list the subheadings for the case history, the facts of the case, and for each new legal argument raised in the brief.
- For the appendix, the Table of Contents should list the starting page of each document included.
- Include page numbers.
- Start the brief on Page 1 and continue from there.
- Even if bound with the brief, start the appendix on Page 1a and continue from there.
- Page limits:
Party Document Maximum Pages Appellant Brief 50 pages Respondent Brief 50 pages Appellant Reply brief 15 pages Respondent filing cross-appeal Brief 75 pages Appellant replying to cross-appeal Brief 50 pages Respondent Reply brief 15 pages
There is a 200-page limit for any document submitted to the court. If necessary, break the document into multiple submissions of no more than 200 pages each.
- When filing a motion, you should fulfill the following requirements:
- A notice of motion stating the specific relief you are seeking. File an original and four copies.
- A supporting brief in which make your case and present your reasons for seeking the relief contained in the motion. There is a 25-page limit on motion briefs.
- Each document submitted with the motion should have the full case caption on it.
- Date and sign each document.
- You must deliver the papers to your adversary when filing a motion. You must submit proof of service before the clerk’s office can move the case forward.
- If you make a motion for an extension of time to file a brief, state the specific date when you can file the brief. You should begin preparing the brief in case the motion is denied, the requested date is changed, or the motion is approved with little time left.
- You are allowed to ask for one extension of up to 30 days without a motion, provided your adversary does not object. Send a letter that gives your reason for the request and state that your adversary does not object. Send a copy of the letter to your adversary.
- If the paperwork is in order, a motion is usually decided within four weeks.
- Any party to an appeal may request oral argument. The request should be submitted to the clerk’s office within 14 days of the respondent’s brief being delivered.
- Motions are usually decided “on the papers.” Requests for oral argument are rarely granted for motions.
- Tell the court of any dates that you might be unavailable, such as a vacation, a medical procedure, or a special event. The clerk’s office will try to schedule oral argument around it.
- Oral argument is very brief. Use the time to focus the court’s attention to what is most important in the case. The judges will have read the briefs and researched the legal issues. Be prepared for them to ask you questions about the case and the law.
- No additional papers may be sent to the court. The one exception to this rule is that a party may serve and file a letter drawing attention to recent case law that might impact your case.
- The appellant may withdraw/dismiss the appeal, without consent, at any time before the first brief is filed.
- To withdraw/dismiss an appeal after the first brief has been filed, you must a file a stipulation of dismissal. The stipulation must be signed by all the parties to the appeal or their attorneys. All stipulations of dismissal are with prejudice and without costs, unless the court, on motion, allows otherwise.