The Difference between Trial Courts and Appellate Courts
LCCR/EF focuses on federal appellate courts, because the outcome of appeals cases have the potential to affect large numbers of people.
|Trial Court||Appellate Court|
|Federal trial courts are called district courts.||Federal appellate courts are called courts of appeals. Cases can be further appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.|
|Cases are heard for the first time in a trial court.||If either party disagrees with the decision in the trial court, they can appeal, asking a higher court to review the decision.|
|Cases only affect the people involved with the case.||The outcome of appeals cases have the potential to affect large numbers of people, because these decisions are binding on district courts within the circuit.|
|The two sides present evidence and witnesses, and either a judge or a jury makes a decision based on the evidence presented.||No new evidence is presented, the judge(s) simply review the materials from the original trial and determine whether the lower court made the correct legal decision.|