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Appeals, or when you disagree with a court decision

Did you fail in your civil suit? Or were you sued and you disagree with the court’s decision? Take the opportunity to appeal. This is a proper remedy that either party to a civil case can use to try to overturn a court decision.

Podání odvolání proti rozhodnutí soudu
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Chapters of the article

An appeal is a general remedy available in a large number of administrative and judicial proceedings. In our article, we focus exclusively on appeals in civil (or civil) proceedings. Such proceedings can easily affect any of us. In it, courts decide, for example, issues of property settlement, inheritance or commercial and contractual relations, and typically also disputes concerning the family (divorce, child support). As a rule, there is a plaintiff and a defendant who settle their lawsuit between themselves.

The appeal process can be successful if your appeal is legally well argued and, in the vernacular, bulletproof. So don’t leave anything to chance and use the services of a solicitor. We will conduct a careful analysis of your case and take care of the preparation of your appeal and representation in court, where we will vigorously enforce your rights.

Which decisions can be challenged?

Every court decision should tell you whether or not you can challenge it. The information should include the time limit for appealing (or any other appeal) and the body to which the appeal should be lodged. That said, most civil court decisions can be challenged. However, there are also some where the law does not expressly allow an appeal. Typically, it is not allowed in so-called small claims cases, in which a decision has been made on a monetary claim not exceeding CZK 10,000, regardless of the amount of the attachments to that claim.

Ordinary remedies are available provided that the decision has not yet become final. Specifically, we are talking about:

  • an appeal against a judgment
  • anappeal against a payment order
  • anobjection to a bill of exchange or cheque payment order.

If the court’s decision has already become final, extraordinary remedies may be used under certain conditions.

Tip: If you are also interested in the possibility of appealing in the administrative procedure, read our article.

Time limits for lodging an appeal

By law, you have 15 days to file an appeal. As we have already mentioned, you must be informed by the court of the time limit and other requirements for filing appeals. If, in an exceptional case, this has not been done or you have been incorrectly advised, you can appeal within three months of the service of the decision in question.

When calculating the time limit for lodging an appeal, bear in mind that it does not include the date on which the decision was served on the party.
The law allows for exceptional situations in which the court may waive the delay. If, for example, you have suffered a sudden accident or serious illness after the judgment has been delivered, you can apply for a waiver of the time limit within 15 days after the obstacle for which you were unable to appeal has ceased to exist. However, such an exception is not allowed if the appeal is against a judgment declaring the marriage dissolved or void.

How do I write an appeal against a court decision?

If you are going to write an appeal to the court, you must respect certain formal and substantive requirements. A model appeal form downloaded from the internet can provide some guidance. As such templates only offer a very general framework of what an appeal should contain, we do not recommend using them. The appeal should include a well thought out and precise legal argument in order to have a chance of success.

In your appeal you should identify yourself as the appellant, the court to which you are appealing and, of course, the precise decision you are appealing against, including the file number and the court that made the decision. Include the date and signature.

Tip: the appeal must be lodged with the court that issued the decision, not the court that will decide on it. That court will then forward your appeal with its brief and record to the Court of Appeals.

A key part of the appeal is:

  • the extent to which you are challenging the decision – a decision usually has multiple statements. You may agree with some parts of it (for example, that you should pay a sum of money to a certain person) but not others (for example, the amount set). In theory, you can also appeal against a decision on costs (even in minor disputes or in the case of conciliation, where an appeal is otherwise inadmissible).
  • grounds of error in the decision (for example, some of the evidence you sought was not taken into account or taken).
  • what you are claiming (for example, a correction of the judgment so that you should pay a lower amount).

The statutory grounds for appeal

The law only allows certain grounds on which you can appeal against a court decision. These are:

  • failure to comply with the conditions of the proceedings, the court of first instance had no jurisdiction, the decision of the court of first instance was given by an excluded judge (presiding judge) or the court of first instance was not properly constituted, unless a panel of judges was sitting instead of a single judge,
  • failure to take into account the facts alleged by the appellant or the evidence adduced by him,
  • any other defect in the proceedings which may have resulted in an incorrect decision in the case,
  • an incomplete finding of the facts of the case or an incorrect finding of fact,
  • the facts as ascertained so far do not stand, because there are additional facts or other evidence which have not yet been adduced,
  • an error of law,

If your case requires a more in-depth legal analysis and you do not have the grounds for appeal precisely analysed within the 15-day period, this situation is used to file what is known as a blanket or blanket appeal, i.e. an appeal without grounds for appeal, which you complete immediately afterwards. In doing so, you primarily indicate your wish to appeal and to amend the judgment.

Effects of the appeal

The lodging of an appeal by a person entitled to appeal and within the time limit set for the appeal shall have the effect of suspending the legal force and enforceability of the contested decision. There are, however, judgments which are directly enforceable by operation of law, for example on maintenance, and therefore the filing of an appeal does not affect their enforceability. Until the appeal has been decided, it may be withdrawn.

How can the Court of Appeal decide?

The Court of Appeal will decide in one of the following ways:

  • Dismiss the late-filed appeal.
  • Dismiss an appeal against a decision that is not appealable.
  • Dismiss the appeal of a person who is not entitled to appeal.
  • Uphold the decision of the court of first instance.
  • Amend the decision of the court of first instance.
  • Set aside the decision and refer the case back to the court of first instance for a fresh hearing (if the Court of Appeal cannot itself provide further evidence)

Tip: be prepared to pay another court fee for the appeal, even though you have already paid the court fee for the action. The amount is governed by the Court Fees Act.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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