Appeals

Overview

Appeal is the process by which one of the parties to a case asks a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. Courts of appeal do not hold a new trial or take new evidence, but instead review the record of the case and decisions of lower courts or administrative agencies to determine if those decisions were legally correct. 

In Montana, district court cases may be appealed to the Montana Supreme Court, which is the highest court in Montana and the final court of appeals. For city and justice court decisions, appeals may be made to district court.

The appellate process involves numerous rules and important deadlines regarding documents and procedures. Those rules, called the Montana Rules of Appellate Procedure, were written by the Montana Supreme Court. These rules must be followed by anyone filing an appeal, petition or motion with the Supreme Court.

The Montana Supreme Court also wrote a Civil Handbook, for people who are representing themselves in a civil appeal from a district court ruling to the Supreme Court. It does not cover appeals of decisions from justice court to a district court or from an administrative agency to a district court. Moreover, the handbook should not be used in any criminal case.    

Link to the Civil Handbook: Proceeding before the Montana Supreme Court without an Attorney for more information. This 87-page resource provides an overview of the appellate process with the Supreme Court and includes useful tables, forms and a glossary of legal terms.

Appeals from City or Justice Court to District Court

Notice of Appeal from City/Justice Court to District Court

Appeals from District Court to the Montana Supreme Court

Civil Handbook: Proceeding before the Montana Supreme Court without an Attorney, by the Supreme Court of Montana (87 pages, including the following forms)

Form 4(2) - Notice of Appeal

Form 4(6) - Petition for an Out-of-Time Appeal

Form 5(a) - Motion to Proceed on Appeal Without Paying the Filing Fee

Form 5(a) Inmate – Motion to Proceed on Appeal Without Paying the Filing Fee

Form 8(3) - Request for Production of Transcripts

Form 10(4) - Certificate of Service

Form 11 – Brief Checklist

Form 11(4) - Certificate of Compliance

Form 11(6)(b) – Cover Page

Form 12(1)(a) - Table of Authorities

Form 16(2) - Response and Objection to Motion

Form 16(4) - Motion to Dismiss Appeal

Form 26 - Motion for Extension of Time

Notice of Appeal (Form 1, M.R.App.P.) Appeals from District Court to Montana Supreme Court)

Notice of Cross-Appeal (Form 2, M.R.App.P.)

Certificate of Service

Motion and Affidavit in Support of Motion to Proceed on Appeal Without Payment of Filing Fee

          Mediation Forms

Attorney's Evaluation

Selection of Mediator

Statement of Position

Party's Evaluation

Mediator's Report

Mediators Instructions

Mediator's Evaluation

Mediator Background Form

E Notification Form

Transcripts Deemed Necessary for Appeal Form (Form 9, M.R.App.P.)

Laws & Rules

MCA Title 25, Ch. 21. Montana Rules of Appellate Procedure

MCA 3-2-304 Fees (Filing fees to the Montana Supreme Court)

MCA Title 25, Ch. 33. Appeal to District Court from Justices’ and City Court

MCA Title 25, Ch. 30A. Montana Uniform Municipal Court Rules of Appeal to District Court

Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules

Order re: Montana Supreme Court Citation Standards

Additional Resources 

Clerk of the Montana Supreme Court, Website

Montana Supreme Court Appellate Filing Guide, from the Clerk of the Montana Supreme Court

Civil Handbook: Proceeding before the Montana Supreme Court without an Attorney, by the Supreme Court of Montana (87 pages)

Standards of Review Handbook, from the Montana Supreme Court