How to File an Appeal on a Magistrate's Judgment

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A magistrate presides over a district court in which both civil and criminal cases can be heard. The magistrate court is a trial court; therefore you can appeal the magistrate’s judgment to a superior court. The circuit courts within the state are the most appropriate courts to hear an appeal on a magistrate’s judgment. Filing for this appeal will allow the appellate court to review the legal errors in your case and not factual errors. It is advisable to seek the services of an attorney when appealing a complex case.

  • File a notice to appeal with the court clerk within 10 to 30 days from the date the magistrate issued the judgment. Obtain the "Notice of Appeal" forms from the district court that issued the judgment and fill it in by indicating: the parties involved in the appeal, the judgment you are appealing and the name of the court to which the appeal will be made.

  • State in the notice of appeal whether you wish to appeal the entire judgment or parts of it. Describe what judgment would have been more favorable for you. Sign and date the notice. Leave two copies of the notice to appeal -- one for the court clerk and the other to be served upon the magistrate by the clerk. Attach a copy of the magistrate judgment to each of the notice to appeal forms.

  • Serve the notice of appeal upon the other party or his attorney if he has one. Send the notice through certified mail, or request the court to serve the notice of appeal to the other party if you do not have his address.

  • Wait for the magistrate to make a return or a reply to the circuit court in which your appeal will be heard. Attend the appeals hearing at the appropriate circuit court upon receiving a confirmation date from the court clerk of the magistrate court.

  • Bring along evidence and witnesses to support your case. Note that the circuit court is not a jury court and only errors in the law will be reviewed by this appellate court.

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