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How Does the Connecticut Appellate Court Work?

The Connecticut Appellate Court is the intermediate court of appeals for all cases transferred from the Connecticut Superior Courts. It is established to hear appeals in minor matters such as misdemeanors and minor civil cases). Like the Supreme Court, the Connecticut Appellate Court hears appeals from Superior Courts and reviews decisions by lower courts to identify errors during court proceedings.

Most appellate cases pass through the Appellate Court before they are transferred to the Supreme Court. However, this excludes cases involving convictions of capital felonies and verdicts where the Superior Court has found that a provision of the state statute or the state constitution is invalid. The Appellate Court also hears pending appeals transferred from the Supreme Court.

The court reviews decisions from lower courts in the same manner as the Supreme Court. Like the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court does not hear witnesses but renders its verdicts based on briefs, records, and oral arguments.

Typically, only judgments and orders issued by a judge of the Superior Court can be transferred to the Appellate Court for appeal. However, decisions rendered by state agencies and Probate Courts may be challenged by appealing to the Superior Court. Similarly, for matters related to worker’s compensation, Compensation Review Board appeals may be taken to the Appellate Court. An appeal of a ruling by the workers’ compensation commissioner on a case that alleges discriminatory discharge in violation of C. G. S. § 31–290a, may also be directly transferred to the Appellate Court. Most Connecticut appellate matters should be filed at the Appellate Court. If any party files an appellate matter at the wrong court, the appellate clerk should transfer it to the proper court.

The Connecticut Appellate Court is made up of nine Appellate Court Judges. Of the nine Appellate Court Judges, one is appointed as Chief Judge by the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. During an Appellate Court session, a panel of three judges hears and decides on cases. However, the court may also sit en banc; this implies that all judges of the court would jointly participate in the decision.

Appellate Court Judges in the state are appointed through the assisted appointment method. For this method, the governor nominates a candidate from a list of qualified persons forwarded by the judicial selection commission. Note that the general assembly must approve the person nominated by the governor.

Each Judge serves an eight-year term and might be re-nominated to serve additional terms. The mandatory retirement age for Connecticut judges is 70. However, retired Judges of the Appellate Court and the Supreme Court may still sit on Appellate Court panels whenever needed. Also, eligible Judges who are not up to the age of 70 may take senior status and return to service in the Appellate Court.

All candidates vying for the position of an Appellate Court judge must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Must be below 70 years old at the time of appointment
  • Must be a citizen and resident of the United States and Connecticut
  • Must be licensed to practice law in the state

If a judge of the Supreme Court is absent for any reason, a judge from the Appellate or Superior Court may be temporarily assigned to sit with the Supreme Court.

Generally, a petitioner must file an appeal within 20 days after the date on the notice of judgment or verdict rendered by the trial judge or clerk. If a notice of the judgment is issued by the trial judge in open court, the 20-day appeal period commences from that day. If the petitioner is only notified by mail or electronic delivery, the appeal period starts on the day the notice of the verdict is sent to the counsel of record by the trial court clerk.

Where a petitioner needs more time to file an appeal, a motion for extension of time must be filed in the trial court that heard the case. A motion for extension of time to file an appeal should be filed not less than ten days before the expiration of the time limit sought to be extended. This is so that if the motion is denied, the party seeking to appeal will have at least ten days from the issuance of the notice of denial to appeal.

Persons interested in obtaining Connecticut Appellate Court records may search online via the Supreme and Appellate Court Case Look-up.

The Connecticut Appellate Court is located at:

75 Elm Street, Hartford,
United States
Phone: +1 860–757–2200
Judges’ Secretaries: (860) 713–2192
Fax: (860) 713–2216

Office of the Appellate Clerk:
231 Capitol Avenue,
Hartford, CT 06106
Telephone: (860) 757–2200
Fax: (860) 757–2217

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