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How to File an Appeal in Maryland State Court ─ Circuit Court

You’ve just lost your case in a Maryland trial court and want to appeal – how do you do it?  For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume your case is in a Maryland circuit court (different rules may apply if you’re in the district court).  We’ll also assume your case allows a direct appeal; most, but not all, cases are of this type. We’ll further assume you want to exercise your right of appeal to Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, called the Appellate Court of Maryland. In very limited cases, there may be a right of direct appeal to the Supreme Court of Maryland.  A litigant can also try to skip the intermediate appellate court and go straight to the Supreme Court, but that’s rare.  These two situations are beyond the scope of this article.


How to Appeal a Circuit Court Decision in Maryland


With those qualifications out of the way, we can get down to business.  Fortunately for lawyers and litigants, filing an appeal is relatively easy.  Maryland Rule 8-201 states that, subject to an exception not addressed here, “the only method of securing review by the Appellate Court is by the filing of a notice of appeal within the time prescribed in Rule 8-202.”  So, what’s a notice of appeal?  It’s a simple document that informs the lower court of a party’s intention to appeal.  Rule 8-201 states that “[i]t is sufficient that the notice be substantially in the following form”:





__________ notes an appeal to the Appellate Court in the above-captioned action.

(Signature and Certificate of Service)

Here’s an example of what this looks like in practice: Generic Notice of Appeal



In this example, you see the case caption at the top (the heading that goes on all documents filed in the case), I’ve signed the notice on behalf of my hypothetical client, Jane Smith, and I’ve included a certificate of service (a sworn statement telling the court you’ve given the other party or parties copies of the filing).  That’s it!  No need to present any arguments or describe the issues you intend to raise.

Now that you have your notice of appeal ready, when and where does it need to be filed?  On the when, as noted earlier, the notice needs to be filed “within the time prescribed in Rule 8-202.”  With exceptions we won’t cover here, Rule 8-202 requires that the notice “be filed within 30 days after entry of the judgment or order from which the appeal is taken.”

On the where, under Rule 8-201, the notice “shall be filed with the clerk of the lower court or, in an appeal from an order or judgment of an Orphans’ Court, with the register of wills.”  Basically, whatever court heard your case is the court in which the appeal needs to be filed.

If you’re a criminal defendant, all you or your lawyer needs to do to begin the appeal process is file the notice of appeal. For most civil litigants, however, there is one additional step.  Under Rule 8-205, a notice of appeal in a civil case must be accompanied by the “Civil Appeal Information Report” form that can be found on the Maryland Judiciary’s website. This form provides the Appellate Court with basic information about the parties and the case. Though the form asks parties to list the issues on appeal, don’t stress over this because the information provided does not limit the scope of the appeal when it comes time to brief and argue the case.



Those are the basics of noting an appeal—if you have questions or need help appealing your case in Maryland, reach out to me, Todd Hesel, at or 410-385-2225.


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