45. Appeals

  1. An appeal is the transfer to a higher court of a judicial case on which judgment has been rendered in a lower court, and is allowable only to the party against whom the decision has been rendered. The parties shall be known as the appellant and appellee. An appeal cannot be made to any court other than the next higher, except with its consent.
  2. Only those who have submitted to a regular trial are entitled to an appeal. Those who have not submitted to a regular trial are not entitled to an appeal.
  3. The grounds of appeal are such as the following: any irregularity in the proceedings of the lower court; refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; receiving improper, or declining to receive proper, evidence; hurrying to a decision before all the testimony is taken; manifestation of prejudice in the case; and mistake or injustice in the judgment and censure.
  4. Notice of appeal may be given the court before its adjournment. Written notice of appeal, with supporting reasons, shall be filed by the appellant with both the clerk of the lower court and the clerk of the higher court, within thirty days of notification of the last court’s decision.Notification shall be deemed to have occurred on the day of mailing (if certified, registered or express mail of a national postal service or any private service where verifying receipt is utilized), the day of hand delivery, or the day of confirmed receipt in the case of e-mail or facsimile. Furthermore, compliance with such requirements shall be deemed to have been fulfilled if a party cannot be located after diligent inquiry or if a party refuses to accept delivery. No attempt should be made to circularize the courts to which appeal is being made by either party before the case is heard.
  5. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the lower court to file with the clerk of the higher court, not more than thirty (30) days after receipt of notice of appeal, a copy of all proceedings in connection with the case, including the notice of appeal and reasons therefor, the response of the lower court, the evidence, and any papers bearing on the case, which together shall be known as “the Record of the Case”, and the higher court shall not admit or consider anything not found in this “Record” without the consent of the parties in the case. Should new evidence come to light the case shall be remanded to the lower court from which the appeal was made, unless both parties consent to admit the new evidence and proceed with the case (cf. BCO 38.14).
  6. Notice of appeal shall have the effect of suspending the judgment of the lower court until the case has been finally decided in the higher court. If, however, the censure is suspension from the Sacraments or excommunication, or deposition from office, the court may, for sufficient reasons duly recorded, put the censure into effect until the case is finally decided.
  7. After a higher court has decided that an appeal is in order and should be entertained by the court, the court shall hear the case, or appoint a commission to do so. At the hearing, after the Record has been read, each side should be allotted not over thirty (30) minutes for oral argument, the appellant having the right of opening and closing the argument. After the hearing has been concluded, the court or commission should go into closed session, and discuss the merits of the case. The vote then should be taken, without further debate, on each specification in this form: Shall this specification of error be sustained? If the court or commission deem it wise, it may adopt a minute explanatory of its action, which shall become a part of its Record of the Case. The court or commission shall designate one of its members to write the opinion, which opinion shall be adopted by the court or commission as its opinion.
  8. The decision of the higher court may be to confirm or to reverse, in whole or in part, the judgment of the lower court; or to remit the case to the lower court for the purpose of amending the record, should it appear incorrect or defective; or to send the case back for a new trial. In every case a full record shall be made, and a copy of it shall be sent to the lower court.
  9. An appellant shall be considered to have abandoned his appeal if he fails to appear before the higher court, in person or by counsel, for a hearing thereof, after he has been properly notified; but an appellant may waive, in writing, his right to appear with permission of the court and not be considered to have abandoned his case. In case of such failure to appear, the judgment of the lower court will stand unless the appellant gives to the court a prompt and satisfactory explanation.
  10. If an appellant manifests a litigious or otherwise unchristian spirit in the prosecution of his appeal, he shall receive a suitable rebuke by the appellate court.
  11. If a lower court shall neglect to send up “the record of the case,” or any part of it, to the injury of the appellant, it shall receive a proper rebuke from the higher court, and the judgment from which the appeal has been taken shall be suspended, until “the record” is produced upon which the issue can be fairly tried.


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