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Appeals Process

Information about the appeals process in Ohio state and federal courts and administrative agencies.

Ohio Jurisdictional Structure

Civil and criminal cases in Ohio generally begin in lower courts. This includes:

  • Mayor’s courts,
  • Municipal courts,
  • The court of claims and
  • Common pleas courts (which include four divisions: general, domestic relations, juvenile and probate.)

When parties wish to appeal the decision of the lower court, they must follow appropriate appellate procedure.

Information about the structure of jurisdiction and appellate hierarchy.

Municipal and Common Pleas Courts

When a municipal or common pleas court issues a decision a party may be able to obtain some relief from that court in certain circumstances  without resorting to filing an appeal to a higher court. Relief could come in the form of a new trial, a stay of judgment enforcement or other option listed below.

In a civil case, a party may find relief pursuant to the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.

Some civil rules which may be useful include, but are not limited to:

Rule 53: Magistrates. Specifically 53(D) – Motions to Set Aside Magistrate’s Order, Objections to Magistrate’s Decision.

Rule 50B: Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict

Rule 59: New Trials

Rule 60: Relief from Judgment or Order: Mistakes, inadvertence, excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence, fraud, etc.

Rule 62: Stay of Proceedings to Enforce a Judgment


In a criminal case, a party may find relief in the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure

Some criminal rules which may be useful include, but are not limited to:

Rule 19: Magistrates. Specifically 19(D) - Proceedings in Matters Referred to Magistrates.

Rule 29: Motion for Acquittal

Rule 33: New Trial

Rule 34: Arrest of Judgment

Rule 35: Post Conviction Relief

Each lower court also has its own set of local rules which must be followed. Click the link for a listing of local rules by county and division.


District Courts

Appellate Districts

Parties wishing to appeal a final judgment from a lower court may generally file in the appropriate appellate district. The state can generally only appeal the decision of the lower court in civil matters.  Ohio has 12 appellate districts that each contain a court of appeals. Courts of appeals consist of multi-judge panels. Appellate districts are based on the county in which the lower court is located.

Some useful rules and statutes governing appeals in Ohio may include: 



Supreme Court of Ohio

Supreme Court Jurisdiction and Authority

Parties may generally file an appeal of an appellate district court’s decision with the Ohio Supreme Court. Depending on the nature of the case, the Ohio Supreme Court may either be required to hear the appeal or choose or decline to hear it. The Ohio Supreme Court consists of a seven judge panel, including the chief justice, and hears cases from all 12 appellate districts.

Rules governing the appellate process for the Ohio Supreme Court:

Some useful information about filing and practice before the court may include:



Supreme Court of the United States - Appellate Cases

U.S. Supreme Court Jurisdiction and Authority

Under certain circumstances parties may appeal decisions of the Ohio Supreme Court to the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court must grant a writ of certiorari for a case to be heard.


Disclaimer: Hamilton County Law Library staff, as a service to its patrons, provides reference services and information, including these research guides. To protect the public interest, Ohio law requires that legal advice and services be rendered only by qualified attorneys who are subject to the guidelines of the courts. Library staff members do not interpret the law, provide legal advice, or explain court procedures. The information provided is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney.  None of our services shall be construed as giving legal advice.