Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Appeal work - "Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal"

The process for an appeal from a Court of Common Pleas to the Superior Court is actually relatively straightforward. Only a simple "Notice of Appeal" needs to be filed along with the appropriate fees. The Notice itself does not need to contain the reasons for the appeal.

The lower court is entitled to request that an appellant file a "Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal", commonly known as a "1925(b) statement." This is the first time that the appellant is required to list the reasons for the appeal. This need not be an exhaustive brief, and it is usually best to make the statements as simple and clear as possible, but it does need to contain all the claims that are a basis for the appeal. Failure to include an issue in this statement is grounds for the Superior Court to ignore such issues.

This statement is then reviewed by the lower court and may result in a response from the lower court justifying its decision. Such a response is forwarded to the Superior Court for further review along with the briefs of the parties.

Although the 1925(b) statement is relatively simple to prepare it must be done with the knowledge that it is an important part of the appellate process, and failure to complete it adequately could result in waiver of appellate issues.

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