Menu Close

Perfecting the Appeal – Part 3 of 3
The Brief

By J. Douglas Barics
September 2019

The Appellant’s Brief

An appellate brief is the written argument made to the appellate division why the lower court’s disposition of the case was incorrect. The appellate division is an error checking court, and to that end, its function is to review trial decisions for errors, and determine if these errors are significant enough to give a different result.

The format of the brief is as follows.

1. The Cover

The cover must include the title of the appellate proceeding.
The upper right-hand section must contain a notation stating whether oral argument is requested or of the appeal is to be submitted only. If argument is requested, the time required and the name of the attorney who will argue must be included.
The lower right-hand section must contain the name, address, telephone number and email address of the attorney filing the brief and indicate whom the attorney represents.

2. The Table of Contents

  • a list of point headings
  • the contents

3. The Table of Authorities

A table of cases in alphabetic order, statutes and other authorities. For each one, the pages of the brief where they are cited must be included.

4. Questions Presented

A short statement of the questions involved and the answer to each one.

5. Nature of the Case and the Facts

A concise statement of the nature of the case, followed by the statement of facts, with appropriate citations to the record.

6. The Argument

The argument for the appellant must be divided into points by appropriate headings. The headings must be distinctively printed.

7. Printing Requirement Statement

A statement certifying compliance with printing requirements is required

8. Statement Pursuant to 5531

In the First and Second Departments, the CPLR 5531 statement must also be included in the brief.

9. Additional Content if the Original Record is used.

In the First and Second Judicial Departments, if the appeal is using the original record, the brief must include the following:

  • a copy of the order or judgment appealed from and the decision that gave rise to the judgment
  • a copy of the opinion and findings, if any, of a hearing officer, and
  • a copy of the notice of appeal

The Respondent’s Brief

The respondent’s brief is the same as the appellant’s brief in format, except that the respondent may include a counterstatement of the questions involved or a counterstatement of the nature of the case and the and facts

The Appellant’s Reply Brief

A reply brief of the appellant must also conform with the same format.

The article "Perfecting the Appeal - The Brief" is provided as a free educational service by J. Douglas Barics, attorney at law, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice may only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with the facts and circumstances of a specific case.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Mr. Barics at or (631) 864-2600. For more articles and information, please visit
Copyright © 1998-2019 by J. Douglas Barics, attorney-at-law. All rights reserved.
J. Douglas Barics, Esq. – Divorce, family, matrimonial, trial and appeals lawyer in Long Island, New York.