Appealing an Order


Learn how to "appeal" your case if you disagree with the final decision reached by the judge after your trial.

Overview of Appeals

If you disagree with the decision reached after your trial, you can file an “appeal.” An “appeal” is a request to have a higher court change or reverse a judgment of a lower court.

When you appeal, the entire case is reviewed by a higher court. The appeals court will look at the evidence that was presented to the trial court to decide whether some legal error was made. An appeal doesn’t allow you to re-do your trial.  You won’t be able to submit new evidence.  The appeals judge will only look at what you submitted to the trial judge.  Depending on what the appeals court decides, it can set aside, confirm, or modify the trial court’s judgment and could even order a new trial.

Appeals are filed with the Nevada Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court can assign a case to the Court of Appeals to handle instead. 

CAUTION!

Appeals can be complicated, expensive, and lengthy.  Before you decide to file an appeal, it is a good idea to meet with a lawyer and find out if you have a basis to appeal and the likelihood of success.  Visit Lawyers and Legal Help for more information about where to find a lawyer.

An in-depth discussion of appeals is beyond this website’s scope. This page provides only a general overview. Appeals can be complicated, so make sure you understand all the rules that apply to your type of case and appeal.  Nevada Supreme Court appellate rules can be found in the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure.

How to Appeal

Broadly speaking, to appeal an order you need to take the following steps:

Step 1: Determine whether you can file an appeal
Step 2: Calculate your time limit to appeal
Step 3: File a notice of appeal and a cost bond
Step 4: Serve the notice of appeal
Step 5: Decide whether to “stay” execution of the judgment
Step 6: Order a transcript or file a statement of evidence and points on appeal
Step 7: File a brief to the supreme court or wait for instructions from the district court

FYI! 

If an appeal involves child custody or visitation issues, there is a special “Fast Track Child Custody Appeal” rule that will apply.  This can be found in the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure Rule 3E.  The Fast Track Child Custody Appeal rule sets different requirements and deadlines than what is discussed below. 

Step 1: Determine whether you can file an appeal

Not every court order can be appealed. As a general rule, only final orders can be appealed; appellate courts do not review temporary orders.  For a list of many of the orders that you can appeal, study Rule 3A(b) of the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Even though you may not be able to appeal a particular court order, there might be other avenues you can use to challenge the order. Talking to a lawyer about your case is the best way to evaluate your options. Visit Lawyers and Legal Help for more information.

Step 2: Calculate your time limit to appeal

If your case is in district court, both sides normally have thirty days from the written notice of entry of the judgment to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court. Missing your appeal deadline can preclude your appeal.

Step 3: File a notice of appeal and a cost bond

You must file a Notice of Appeal with the district court that heard your case. The Self-Help Center does not have forms for an appeal from the district court to the Nevada Supreme Court. The supreme court has samples on its website that you can use to draft your own. Visit the Appellate Practice Forms website for an example of a Notice of Appeal.

When you file the Notice of Appeal, you must pay a filing fee of $24 to the district court and $250 to the supreme court. (NRAP 3(e)). If the court has already issued an order waiving your filing fees, the order will waive the filing fee on appeal. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can file an Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (sometimes called a “fee waiver application”), which is available, free of charge, at the Self-Help Center.  Visit Filing Fees and Waivers to find the forms. 

You must also post a bond with the court clerk for the costs on appeal of $500. (NRAP 7). A “bond” is a guarantee for payment that you obtain from a bonding company for a fee. You can also post the $500 in cash. The $500 cost bond cannot be waived with a fee waiver application.

A Case Appeal Statement must be filed with the district court clerk. If you are representing yourself, the district court clerk will complete this for you. (NRAP 3(f)(2)).

Step 4: Serve the notice of appeal

You must mail a copy of the filed Notice of Appeal (filed by the court clerk) to the other side’s attorney or, if there is no attorney, to the other side directly. (NRAP 3(d))

Step 5: Decide whether to “stay” execution of the judgment

Filing an appeal does not stop the order you are appealing from being effective.  If you do not want the order to go into effect while the appeal is going on, you must take steps to “stay” (pause) enforcement of the order.

An order can be stayed by filing a motion in the district court asking the judge to stay the order pending appeal. (NRAP 8(a)(1)). The request for a stay can also be filed directly with the supreme court under certain circumstances. (NRAP 8(a)(2)).

To learn more about filing motions, please visit Filing a Motion.  You can also find samples of Motions for Stay forms on the Nevada Supreme Court's website

Step 6: Order a transcript

Within fifteen days after the appeal is docketed with the appellate court, you must do one of the following:

  1. If the proceedings were recorded, file an original Transcript Request Form with the district court and file a copy with the appellate court clerk. (NRAP 9(b)). You must serve a copy of the form on all parties to the case and to the court reporter who recorded the proceeding, along with a deposit for the transcript. If your fees have been waived, do not serve the court reporter.  The appellate court will determine which transcripts are needed and will issue an order directing that they be prepared.  Visit the Appellate Practice Forms website for an example of a Transcript Request Form. 
  2. If you do not want any transcripts, file a "Certificate of No Transcript Request" with the appellate court.  Visit the Appellate Practice Forms website for an example.  
  3. If the trial or hearing was not recorded, prepare a Statement of the Evidence or Proceedings, which must be served on all other parties. (NRAP 9(d)).

Step 7: File a brief or fast track statement

The parties are required to file briefs with the appellate court and to serve them on the other side. To learn more about appellate briefs and what you must include in them, study Rule 28 of the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure.

1. The appellant must file an opening brief within 120 days after the date that the appeal was docketed in the supreme court.  The supreme court clerk should have a form available for you to fill out if you need one. 
**If your appeal concerns a custody or visitation order, you must file the brief within 90 days.  The court may also order you to file a "Child Custody Fast Track Statement" if your case does not settle or is exempted from the settlement program.  This form can be found on the Appellate Practice Forms website. 
2. The respondent then has thirty days from the date that the opening brief was served to file an answering brief.
3. The appellant then has thirty days from the date the answering brief was served to file a reply brief.

The case may be referred to the Court of Appeal, or the Supreme Court will handle the case.  The appellate court may reach a decision based just on the briefs, or the court may decide to hear from the parties at oral argument.  If the Supreme Court hears your case, oral argument may take place either before a panel of three Justices or before the entire Court.  The court will issue its ruling in writing once it has made a decision. 

FYI!

There’s a great resource available at your local law library called the Nevada Appellate Practice Manual. It’s basically a “how to” guide for appeals in Nevada and will be an invaluable resource, especially if you’re appealing your case to the Nevada Supreme Court. Visit Law Libraries for location and contact information.