Appealing a District Court Order

If you are not happy with a decision or order made in the District Court you have the right to appeal. An appeal from the District Court is heard in the Circuit Court which is the next highest court jurisdiction. You do this by serving and lodging a Notice of Appeal document.

You have fourteen days from the date of the court order being made to serve and lodge your appeal documents. However, if you are outside of this time period, you can apply for an extension of time to appeal. If you are applying for an extension of time to appeal, you must also notify the other party to the case.

You might want to get legal advice to better understand your situation.

Legal terms to know for the appeal process

  • For Family Law matters, unless a judge directs otherwise, an appeal does not act as a stay on the original order. This means that you must obey the original District Court order until the Circuit Court has decided on your appeal. 
  • The Circuit Court appeal will be a complete re-hearing of the original District Court case. In legal terms, this is called a de novo hearing which literally means 'from new'.
  • The person appealing an order is known as the appellant. The other parties are known as respondents.

There are a number of steps to take to appeal an order from the District Court to the Circuit Court.

All information is for guidance only. Always check legislation and court rules to ensure your appeal is correct. You might want to get legal advice to better understand what's involved.

Consider legal advice

Family Law appeals can have an impact on things such as arrangements for your children, maintenance, the family home, money, assets and pensions.

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Download and complete a Notice of Appeal

Download and complete the Notice of Appeal form. If you cannot download it, you can request it from the court office.

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Serve the Notice of Appeal

Once you have completed, signed and dated a Notice of Appeal, you must provide a copy to any other party involved in the case. This is called serving. It means making them aware that you are appealing the order to the Circuit Court.

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Attend Circuit Court hearing

You and the respondent will receive a notice from the court office informing you both of the date and place of the appeal hearing. This will be a complete re-hearing of the matter appealed.

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Judge makes a decision

After the court hearing, the appeal judge will make a decision called a court order. Any jurisdictional limits which applied to the District Court will also apply to the Circuit Court.

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