California Court of Appeal Step-by Step

The California Court of Appeal Step-by Step: Civil Appellate Practices and Procedures for the Self-Represented in the Fourth Appellate District.

Prepared by staff at the California Court of Appeals, 4th District, this manual is intended to serve as a procedural guide for self-represented litigants pursuing a civil appeal. Divided into seven chapters, the manual offers a concise summary of appellate procedure and the deadlines for filing and serving papers as the appeal progresses, with citations to relevant sections of the California Rules of Court.

The manual is divided into chapters, which reflect major stages of the appellate process:

  • Chapter 1: Can You Appeal?

Judgments and orders that are appealable; Eligibility to appeal

  • Chapter 2: Filing the Notice of Appeal

Completing, filing, and serving the Notice of Appeal

  • Chapter 3: Preparing the Record

Clerk’s Transcript; Reporter’s Transcript; Procedures for designating the record on appeal; Preparing an appellant’s appendix

  • Chapter 4: Civil Case Information Statement/Certificate of Interested Entities or Persons
  • Chapter 5: Briefing the Case

The function and contents of the Appellant’s Opening Brief, the Respondent’s Brief, and the Reply Brief; Standards of review

  • Chapter 6: Other Things You Should Know

Motion practice in appellate court- Motion to Dismiss; Motion to Augment the Record; Motion to Shorten or Extend Time

  • Chapter 7: Post-Briefing

Requesting oral argument; Petitioning for rehearing; Petitioning for review by California Supreme Court; Remittitur

The “Sample Forms and Instructions” section is of particular value to litigants. This section contains samples of blank forms that must be filed in a civil appeal, with detailed instructions for completing each form, filing and service instructions, and associated fees and costs. Form templates featured in the manual include: Notice of Appeal, Appellant’s Notice Designating Record on Appeal, Appellant’s Opening Brief, Motion to Augment the Record on Appeal (with points and authorities and declaration in support), and Petition for Rehearing.

Though by no means a comprehensive resource, this manual offers an excellent first introduction to California appellate procedure.

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