Trial Court vs. Appellate Court

Main Difference

There is a complete procedure of a case from start to end in legal system of every country. Trial court and appellate court are most important court in judiciary. There are number of points that create differences between these two courts on the basic of power and decision making authorities. Scroll down for the differences between trial court and appellate court.

Trial Court

trial-courtAs emerging from title; Trial court is a court where cases start either it is a criminal case or civil case. This is in fact the fact finding court where both sides parties present the evidence to show their matter of what happened. Evidence comes through witness who are called on to answer questions relating to the case. First time a case is heard in trial court. This court is also called a district court.  There is only one judge in the courtroom that hears the case and decide according to law.

Appellate Court


Appellate court is the higher court than trial court in a judiciary system. If either of the party of the case is disagrees with the decision of the trial court or other above higher court, he can appeal to higher court to review the decision. Appeal is file to the court above trial court. Procedure is totally different as compare to trial court. No new evidence or witness are required in appellate court. Jury simply review the evidence and material of the trial court and determine whether the decision made by the trial court is according to law or there is still a gap. If appellate court find any new ground, it can amend the order passed by the trial court or can accept it. In case of disagree, appellate court gives its decision and verdict of trial court stand will be declared null and void.

Key Differences

  • Trial court is the first court where case is first time taken into consideration. Appellate court come into action in case of file of appeal by either disagreed party of the decision of the trial court.
  • Appellate court is higher court than trial court.
  • Evidence and witness are presented before trial court while appellate court review the decision made by trial court and check either there is any point of fact or point of law in the appeal.
  • In trail court, there is only one judge in the courtroom. In appellate court, there are mostly five groups of three judges to decide the case.
  • Finding facts and evidence is the task of trial court while appellate court decide the case on already collected evidences and witnesses.
  • Appellate court can accept, amend or reject the decision of trial court.

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