Appealing a Bankruptcy Court Decision
Bankruptcy court judges have the authority to determine any matter connected to a bankruptcy case. This can involve decisions ranging from a person’s eligibility to file bankruptcy in the first place to a debtor’s ability to discharge debts. However, if you are unhappy with the Bankruptcy judge’s ruling, you can appeal that decision.
Bankruptcy courts are part of the U.S. federal court system. Each federal District Court maintains its own Bankruptcy court. However, your appeal is handled differently depending on what federal district you are in.
In about half of the districts in the U.S., your appeal is heard by the federal District Court itself. You can later appeal the district court’s decision, at which point your case is heard by the federal Court of Appeals.
In the rest of the districts, your appeal from Bankruptcy court is heard by a Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. Your case is reviewed by a three-judge panel. If you are unhappy with the Panel’s decision, you can appeal to the federal Court of Appeals.
Finally, if you are unhappy with the Court of Appeal’s decision, you can request an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, unlike the lower courts, the Supreme Court is allowed to choose which cases it hears, and it is extremely unlikely that they would choose to hear a bankruptcy case. In that event, the decision of the Court of Appeals is final.
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Last Modified: 05-28-2009 04:12 PM PDT