WHAT IS THE COURT OF APPEALS
The court of appeals protects the “Rule of Law”
After a trial is over, parties can ask the court of appeals to review the case and decide whether the trial judge made legal errors that affected the case’s outcome. Rather than trying the case again, however, appellate courts focus on the law and decide such matters as interpreting statutes, constructing contracts and other legal documents, understanding procedural rules, reviewing the record to determine whether the evidence supports the verdict, and assessing whether the trial court correctly applied that law during the case. As such, the court of appeals is the guardian of the “Rule of Law” in business, criminal, family law, personal injury, trust and estate, and other cases that arise in state courts and affect Texans’ daily lives. Trial court decisions typically affect only the parties involved in that particular case. But appellate decisions set precedents that lower courts must follow and affect citizens throughout that court’s area in particular and potentially throughout the state.