How to Write an Appellate Brief

Statistics show that most of the court cases are won and lost, on the impression that a judge gets ongoing through the appellate. An appellate brief is a legal document presented before the appeals court, clearly stating all the details of a matter and why the stance of the lawyer is true.

The appellate attorney must put forth his side in such a way, that the judge is persuaded to rule in favor of attorney’s argument. Therefore, the question ‘how to write a legal brief’, should ideally be, ‘How to write a legal detail?’ The term appellate brief is ironic in the sense that, it is quite a lengthy document.

Tips to Write an Appellate Brief Effectively

If you are an appellate lawyer, shouldering the responsibility of writing an appellate, there are few details which you need to be particular about. It is both a responsible and a daunting task to write a winning legal argument. Whether the ruling court is a trial court, intermediate appellate court or a supreme court, the legal brief should reflect the genuineness of your cause.

– The first and foremost concern of the lawyer, in the process of writing a brief should be, thoroughness with the case. It is a very crucial input for writing an impeccable appellate brief. The lawyer should be well-versed with the matter, specially if the case has come up after a judgment from the lower courts. A forceful argument mostly depends on your knowledge of the subject.
– Mark out all the important issues or certain sensitive points in the argument, that need extreme focus. Make it a habit to research extensively for all the legal concerns. There are many sites and written material available, which can be ultimate guide for writing about a particular part in your argument. Follow interesting cases and refer some outstanding works, to broaden your own view and hence put in a compelling composition.
– While mentioning the minute aspects and making a deep study for the same, always ensure that you do not stray from the legal barriers. The most reliable argument is simply setting the facts straight and simple.

There was an interesting ruling, in one of the American court cases, where both the parties involved in the dispute were quite strong and committed to their side of the argument. The attorney for one side presented the arguments in a very intelligent and effective format, arguing about the validation of his claims. The other side, took an unconventional approach. The lawyer simply put forth all the legal rules and regulations concerned with the issue, elaborately. It was only in the concluding part, that he mentioned how his claims were right in accordance with the detailed provisions of law, as stated earlier. Although, the previous side has forceful arguments in their brief, the latter side won the case, on a simple and clear presentation. The judge made a decision considering all the legal framework laid for the issue and the latter side presented its appellate, carefully in accordance with those clauses, mentioning them in detail.

The conclusion is, that no matter how clever arguments you put forth, it is equally, rather more important to simply adhere to the legalities binding the issue. This is one of the most workable strategies to write a winning appellate brief. However, this may not be the ultimate plan, to work in your favor.

The same approach may not prove effective in other cases. A lawyer who is able to read the situation and the circumstances, which are unique for each case, and interpret the rules guiding them in his client’s favor can write a good appellate. Therefore, writing a good appellate depends on how well you understand the issue, as well as its legal implications.

Make sure you have read and reread the entire appellate to rectify any errors, and have put forth all the points effectively. Also, get proofreading done from trusted assistants or seniors, and hope your work makes for a winning legal brief.

What is Rule 49-O?

Democracy itself, is defined as a form of government in which the power of a country is held by the people under a free electoral system. Political rights are also a part of human rights. So, every citizen has a right to vote for a candidate, who he/she trusts capable of understanding public issues and making decisions for the betterment of the public. However, there could also be a scenario where a voter thinks that none of the competing candidates are eligible to get his/her vote.

In such a situation, the voter is free to register for Rule 49-O and express his/her decision. The presiding officer in an election would register the voter’s decision, and the latter has to sign or give a thumb impression against the remark. Also, it has been mentioned that the negative/neutral vote would be considered at the time of counting of votes. However, the major flaw in this process is the violation of secret voting, since the voter has to inform the presiding officer about his/her decision, which is noted down by the officer. To overcome this, the Supreme Court of India recently directed the Election Commission of India to provide a ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) button in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). The order was passed on September 28, 2013, and would be implemented from the Assembly Elections of 2013 and General Elections to be held in 2014, onwards. This button would help voters who do not want to vote for any of the candidates in the fray to register their opinion without disclosing their identity, which was the case in any earlier election process.

Rule 49-O: Text
49-O. Elector deciding not to vote. – If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect will be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

However, it should be noted that, even if the number of votes cast for NOTA exceeds the number of votes gained by any candidate, a candidate securing number of votes second to the NOTA would still be declared as the winner according to the ‘first-past-the-post’ (FPTP) system adapted by India to elect candidates in an election.