Starting the Appeal

To start an appeal, you must complete the following steps. All things discussed here are required – you cannot skip any part, so please read this section carefully.

  1. The Superior Court Record
  2. Superior Court Final Judgment or Order
  3. Notice of Appeal & Statement of Points on Appeal
  4. The Transcript
  5. Docketing Statement A
  6. Filing Fee and Costs

Step 1: The Superior Court Record

What is the record?

It is all of the paperwork that both sides filed and that the judge issued in the Superior Court case. This usually includes pleadings, motion papers, evidence, exhibits, orders and the final judgment. The record also includes the audio recording of hearings and trial.

Why is it important?

You need to review the record before filing an appeal

Does the Supreme Court get the record?

Yes. The Superior Court will send the record to the Supreme Court.

How do you review the record?

Go to the courthouse where you filed your Superior Court case. Have your Superior Court case number handy so you can request your file. Review your file. Most important:

What do you do after reviewing the record?

  1. You need to decide which, if any, parts of your final judgment you should appeal. Consult with an attorney, if possible, regarding the likelihood of winning your appeal.
  2. Make sure you know the deadline to file your appeal which depends on the type of case you have. Please read Appellate Rule 204 and Appellate Rules 216-220.
  3. This is Step 1 so keep reading and follow the remaining steps to start the appeal.

Step 2: Superior Court Final Judgment or Order

What is the final judgment or order?

It is the Superior Court’s final decision in the original case that ends all proceedings at that level. It may be called a final judgment or a final order, depending on the specific case. The final judgment or order resolves all of the issues that were presented to the court.

Why do you need it?

To file an appeal, you must have a final judgment in the Superior Court case. The Appellate Rules require that you provide a copy when you file the papers to start the appeal. On the judgment, the date noted in the Superior Court clerk’s certificate of distribution is very important because you calculate the deadline for filing the appeal from that date.

How do you get a copy?

You should have received a copy in the mail of the final judgment when the Superior Court case ended. If you need another copy, go to the courthouse and request your file. Review the file and find the final judgment. For a fee, you can:

If you cannot go in person, call the court clerk’s office where your case was decided, and request that they send you a copy.

What do you do after you get a copy?

This is Step 2 so keep reading and follow the remaining steps to start the appeal.

Step 3: Notice of Appeal & Statement of Points on Appeal

What is the Notice of Appeal & Statement of Points on Appeal?

It is a form that is necessary to start the appeal and contains two sections.

The first section, called the "Notice of Appeal," tells the other party and the Supreme Court that you are appealing the Superior Court decision. You need to state the date of the Superior Court final judgment.

The second section, called the "Statement of Points on Appeal," is where you state the specific issues that you are appealing. These are the issues you will argue later in the case in the appeal briefs and oral argument to convince the Supreme Court that the Superior Court made a legal mistake in deciding your case. It is very important to understand that the appeal will only deal with the issues you raise in the Statement of Points on Appeal. This means that if you bring up any other issues in the appeal briefs or oral argument, the Supreme Court will ignore those arguments.

How do you decide what are the points on appeal?

You need to do legal research to determine if the Superior Court made a legal mistake in deciding your case. Remember, just because you do not like the outcome of your Superior Court case does not mean that the judge made a mistake. On appeal, to reverse the Superior Court decision, you must convince the Supreme Court that the Superior Court incorrectly applied the law in deciding your case.

Legal research is not easy for people who didn’t go to law school. At the law library, in some public libraries, and on the Internet, you should start by reading:

Consult with an attorney, if possible, to decide whether there are issues to appeal.

How do you fill out the Notice of Appeal & Statement of Points on Appeal?

Fill out:

At the top, fill in the caption, including your name as the Appellant and the opposing party's name as the Appellee. Leave the Supreme Court Case No. blank which the clerk at the Appellate Court will fill in. Make sure to fill in the Superior Court Case No. that you are appealing.

For the “Notice of Appeal” section, state the date of the Superior Court final judgment. For the “Statement of Points” section, write a brief but detailed statement of the points or issues that you think the Superior Court decided wrong. If there is more than one issue, you can list them. Usually the points on appeal fit on 1 or 2 pages. Remember that the Supreme Court will consider only points included in the Statement of Points on Appeal during your appeals case.

If you need to add to your Statement of Points on Appeal at a later date, you can ask the Supreme Court by filing a motion which you can read about on our motions page. (http://www.courts.alaska.gov/appeals/appealsmotions.htm)

Make sure you fill out the certificate of service at the end of the form, stating how and when you gave the opposing party a copy of all documents filed.

What do you do after you fill out the Notice of Appeal & Statement of Points on Appeal?

This is Step 3 so keep reading and follow the remaining steps to start the appeal.

Step 4: The Transcript

What is a transcript?

A transcript is the written version of what happened at trial or a hearing. It is a written document that states word for word what the parties, the judge and any witnesses said at the trial or hearing. It is made from a recording of the proceeding. At the start of the appeal, you need to “designate the transcript.” This means you provide information about whether you will file

How do you decide whether you will designate a transcript?

At the courthouse where your Superior Court case was heard, request an audio recording on CD or audio cassette of the trial or hearing that you think is important for the appeal. You will have to pay for this. Within 1 week of your request, you should receive a call to pick up your recording.

Listen to the recording. Decide whether the information on the recording is necessary for the Supreme Court to decide the issue on appeal. This may be the whole trial or just a part. That depends on the issue you are appealing. If you think only a part of the trial is important, note the starting number and ending number of the section of the recording if you want to have a partial transcript made.

Do you need to have a transcript for your appeal?

You should have a transcript prepared if the information is necessary for the Supreme Court to decide the issues on appeal. If the Supreme Court will be able to decide the issues based on documents in the Superior Court record, you do not have to get a transcript. In many cases, no transcript is needed.

How does the appellant designate the transcript?

The appellant fills out:

This form states which, if any, parts of the electronic record from the Superior Court case you will have transcribed into writing by checking the correct box:

If you need more time to designate the transcript, file a Motion to Extend Time to submit the Designation of Transcript. See the motions page for more information about filing motions. (http://www.courts.alaska.gov/appeals/appealsmotions.htm)

Does the appellee also need to designate the transcript?

Only if the appellant’s selected parts of the transcript will not be enough to decide the issues on appeal. The appellee may designate additional parts of the electronic record to be transcribed by filing:

Who pays for the transcript?

It is the appellant's responsibility to prepare and pay for the transcript. This includes both the transcript the appellant designated AND the transcript the appellee designated. This means the appellant hires the transcriber and pays for ALL transcripts. Transcripts can be very expensive.

If you cannot afford to pay for the transcript, you may ask the Supreme Court to let you file the cassette or CD from the Superior Court instead of the transcript by filing:

When is the transcript due in the Appellate Clerk's Office?

The case manager will send you the “Opening Notice” that states the date the transcript is due at the Appellate Clerk's Office. The transcript is usually due 40 days after the Opening Notice.

Who prepares the transcript?

The appellant is responsible for getting a professional transcriber to prepare the transcript that BOTH parties designated. The party or their attorney cannot prepare the transcript. The appellant must also get copies of the audio recordings of the hearing or trial designated by BOTH parties to give to the transcriber.

How do you get a copy of the transcript?

Once you have the audio recording, you need to find a professional transcriber to transcribe it into writing. Look in the phone book yellow pages under "Transcribing Service" and choose a transcriber. Take the recording and the log notes to the transcriber. Tell them which sections to transcribe and when the transcript is due at the Appellate Clerk's Office. You can ask the transcriber to deliver the transcript to the Appellate Clerk's Office. The transcriber should deliver:

What do you do after filling out the Designation of Transcript form?

This is Step 4 so keep reading and follow the remaining steps to start the appeal.

Step 5: Docketing Statement A

What is Docketing Statement A?

It is a required form that the appellant must file to start an appeal. It contains important information about your appeal, including contact information for both parties and information about the Superior Court final judgment or order that you are appealing

How do I fill it out?

Open the form:

Follow the instructions:

What should you do after filling out the Docketing Statement A?

This is Step 5 so keep reading and follow the remaining steps to start the appeal.

Step 6: Filing Fee and Costs

How much does it cost to file an appeal?

To open the appeal, the appellant must pay:

AND

You must pay with 2 separate checks if you are paying for the filing fee and cash deposit instead of a bond.

What if you can't afford the filing fee and cost bond?

If your income is under 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, you may request a waiver of the filing fee and/or cost bond by filling out

Your case in the Supreme Court is not open until the court grants the waiver. After the court decides whether to grant your waiver, the Appellate Court Clerk’s Office will mail you an order about the filing fee and cost bond.

How do you pay?

You may pay by:

Where do you pay?

Pay at the Appellate Court Clerk’s Office which is located

Alaska Appellate Courts
303 K Street
Anchorage, AK 99501-2084
(907) 264-0612

What other costs are involved in an appeals case?

There are several fees and costs in the typical appeals case, including:

Type of Fee or Cost Amount Who pays initially?
Filing fee $150 appellant
Cost bond $750 appellant
Transcript preparation costs for BOTH appellant and appellee Actual cost of transcript preparation appellant
Copying costs for briefs and excerpts of record Actual cost of copies each party
Postage costs to send documents to the opposing party (or their attorney) and the Appellate Court Clerk’s Office if you can't hand-deliver Cost of 1st class U.S. postage each party
Supersedeas bond Depends on $ amount of your Superior Court final judgment appellant

Does the loser have to pay the other side's costs?

Usually. The general rule in Alaska is that the losing party pays the winning party's costs and attorney's fees. There are exceptions to this rule depending on the type of appeal. Appellate Rule 508 discusses costs and Appellate Rule 209 discusses appeals at public expense.

If the Supreme Court affirms the decision of the Superior Court, the appellant loses. This means that the appellant pays the appellee's costs and fees.

If the Supreme Court reverses the Superior Court's decision, the appellant wins. This means the appellee pays the appellant's costs and fees.

Depending on who wins, the costs may include:

What happens to the cost bond that was paid when the appeal was started?

If the appellant paid $750 for a cost bond and won the appeal, the Appellate Clerk's Office will send the money back to the appellant. The appellee has to pay the appellant's costs.

If the appellee won the appeal, the Appellate Clerk's Office will send a check to the appellee for their costs in the appeal. This check will come from the appellant's cost bond. If the appellee's costs were more than the cost bond amount of $750, the appellant must pay the additional amount. If the appellee's costs were less than the cost bond amount, the Appellate Clerk's Office will send the appellant the difference.

What is the difference between a cost bond and a supersedeas bond?

A cost bond is supposed to cover the appellee's costs of defending the appeal. If the appellant loses, the cost bond will pay the appellee’s costs up to $750 and the appellant is responsible for any additional costs over the $750. If appellant wins, the Clerk's Office will refund the money. The appellant files the cost bond in the Supreme Court when opening the appeal case.

A supersedeas bond protects the appellant from the appellee collecting a money judgment awarded in the Superior Court case during the appeal. This bond guarantees that the appellant will pay the appellee if the appellant loses the appeal. If the appellant wins the appeal, the appellant can include the supersedeas bond in the Bill of Costs.

The Superior Court sets the amount of the supersedeas bond. If you file a supersedeas bond in the Superior Court, you do not have to pay the $750 cost bond when you open your appeal in the Supreme Court.

You need to follow the Superior Court final judgment unless the Superior Court granted you a stay pending appeal or approval of your supersedeas bond. For more information, please read the "Your Superior Court Case During the Appeal" section. (http://www.courts.alaska.gov/shc/appeals/caseduringappeal.htm)

Where do you get a bond from?

Most people pay cash for the $750 cost bond, unless the Supreme Court granted a waiver.

For supersedeas bonds in the Superior Court, you can look in the yellow pages under “insurance companies” or “bonding companies” that may provide bonds. Usually you have to pay a percentage of the total bond amount.

What do you do after filling out the forms & figuring out how to pay for the appeal?

Get your papers ready to file the appeal at the Appellate Court Clerk’s Office.

Rev. 16 October 2013