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The Jurisdiction of the Appellate Division

by | Jul 25, 2019

The Jurisdiction of the Appellate Division

The Constitution of 1894 provided that the Appellate Division was to succeed to the jurisdiction of the former General Terms
and was to have such additional jurisdiction as might be conferred by the Legislature. Thus the source of the
jurisdiction of the Appellate Division has historically been found both in the Constitution and in statutory law. The
present constitutional provision provides that the Departments of the Appellate Division shall have all the jurisdiction
possessed by them on its effective date and such other jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law, with the
proviso that the right to appeal to the Appellate Division from intermediate orders or judgments may be limited or conditioned by law.

Civil Cases

In civil cases originating in the Supreme Court, Surrogate’s Court, and Court of Claims, most orders, judgments, and decrees
are appealable to the Appellate Division as of right, as are dispositional orders of the Family Court. Appeals from intermediate
orders in CPLR article 78 proceedings and in most proceedings commenced in the Family Court are appealable only by permission.

Criminal Cases

In criminal actions, appeals to the Appellate Division are generally authorized as of right by the defendant from a judgment or a
sentence. Pre-judgment orders are not appealable by a criminal defendant, but certain post-judgment orders are
appealable by the defendant only by permission. The People may appeal as of right from certain pre- and post-judgment orders
and sentences. Appeals as of right are taken by filing a notice of appeal in the office of the clerk of the court in which the order
or judgment appealed from was made and appeals by permission are taken by making a motion for leave to appeal and
obtaining an order granting such permission.

Additional Info

In addition to its appellate jurisdiction, the Appellate Division is also required to entertain certain original proceedings.
These include, among others, special proceedings against certain judicial officers, transferred CPLR article 78 proceedings to
review determinations of administrative bodies or officers made after a hearing at which evidence was taken,
proceedings to review certain determinations of the New York State Division of Human Rights, habeas corpus proceedings,
and proceedings regarding the professional discipline of attorneys.


In the process of deciding an appeal, appellate courts must review the claims of the appellant that the court from which the appeal
was taken made certain errors affecting the order or judgment on appeal. Unlike the Court of Appeals, which, with
limited exceptions, has only the power to review errors of law, the Appellate Division has broad power to review questions of
law, findings of fact, and exercises of discretion.


Thus the Appellate Division has both appellate and original jurisdiction over a wide variety of matters. It has broad powers to
review errors of law, findings of fact, and exercises of discretion, and somewhat more circumscribed powers of review in original special
proceedings. This statutory scheme is in general conformity with the intent of the framers of the Constitution of 1894 that the
principal purpose of the Appellate Division was to be the promotion of substantial justice by the correction of errors and the screening of
cases for the Court of Appeals.

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