Appellate courts, also known as appeal courts or appellate tribunals, are judicial bodies responsible for reviewing decisions made by lower courts or tribunals. These courts play a crucial role in the legal system by providing an avenue for parties dissatisfied with the decisions of trial courts to seek a review of those decisions. Appellate courts do not typically conduct new trials or hear evidence but focus on reviewing legal arguments, procedures, and the application of the law in the cases brought before them.

Key features of appellate courts include:

1. **Review of Decisions:**
– Appellate courts review decisions made by lower courts or administrative agencies. The parties appealing a decision, known as appellants, typically argue that errors occurred during the lower court proceedings or that the law was misapplied.

2. **Appellate Jurisdiction:**
– Appellate courts have jurisdiction over specific types of cases or matters. They may have the authority to hear appeals in civil cases, criminal cases, administrative law matters, or a combination of these, depending on the legal system.

3. **Legal Arguments:**
– Appellate proceedings focus on legal arguments rather than re-examining the facts of the case. Appellants present legal briefs outlining the alleged errors in the lower court’s decision, and the appellee (the party responding to the appeal) submits counterarguments.

4. **Panel of Judges:**
– Appellate cases are typically heard by a panel of judges rather than a single judge. The number of judges on the panel may vary, and decisions are often made by a majority vote.

5. **Oral Arguments:**
– In some appellate cases, parties may have the opportunity to present oral arguments before the appellate panel. This allows attorneys to address questions from the judges and further clarify their legal positions.

6. **Legal Precedent:**
– Appellate court decisions can establish legal precedent that lower courts must follow. These precedents help create a consistent and predictable legal framework.

7. **Affirm, Reverse, or Remand:**
– After reviewing the case, an appellate court can affirm, reverse, or remand the lower court’s decision. Affirmation means upholding the lower court’s decision, reversal means overturning it, and remand means sending the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.

8. **Finality of Decisions:**
– The decisions of appellate courts are generally considered final, although in some cases, further appeals may be possible to a higher appellate level or to the country’s supreme court.

In many legal systems, the structure of appellate courts includes multiple levels, with higher appellate courts having broader jurisdiction and authority. The highest appellate court in a jurisdiction is often called the supreme court or court of last resort. The decisions of these courts carry significant legal weight and may shape the development of the law.