Yes, there is a way to appeal a bankruptcy court decision. Bankruptcy Court is a special court within the United States District Court system. Bankruptcy judges have the authority to decide whether a person is eligible for bankruptcy and what debts may be discharged in the process. If either side to a bankruptcy decision is unhappy, they may consider an appeal of the judge’s decision.

In many jurisdictions, an appeal can be taken to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP) or the United States District Court. In order for any appeal to be successful, there must have been some wrongdoing or failure on the part of the judge. Just because you do not like the outcome does not mean that an appeal will be successful.

How Do I Appeal a Bankruptcy Court Decision?

In order for the BAP to hear an appeal, both parties must agree. The procedure for appealing to the BAP depends on the jurisdiction. Once filed, a three panel judge will review the decision. If either party elects not to use the BAP to handle the appeal, than the appeal will be heard in the U.S. District Court in which the case was originally filed.

If a party elects to take appeal to the U.S. District Court or the BAP and is unsatisfied with the District Court judge’s decision or the panel’s, then an appeal may be taken to the federal Court of Appeals.

If a person is unsatisfied with the Court of Appeals decision, an appeal may be taken to the United States Supreme Court. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has the authority to either choose to hear a case or elect not to hear such a case. It is rare that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a bankruptcy case.

Can I Refile My Bankruptcy Case in Another Court?

Most likely no, you cannot refile your bankruptcy claim in another Court once you have received a decision from the bankruptcy Court. The U.S. District Court system has the original and exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy matters. In an effort to streamline the bankruptcy process the U.S. District Court created the Bankruptcy Court.

Thus, most bankruptcy claims begin there. However, there are some cases in which a bankruptcy matter will begin or be sent back to the U.S. District Court system. Filing an appeal is usually the only option when you are dissatisfied with the bankruptcy judge’s decision.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Bankruptcy Appeal?

Having a qualified bankruptcy lawyer is highly recommended in handling a bankruptcy appeal matter. A lawyer can help you decide whether an appeal is likely to produce a different result and assist in the filing of the petition in the event an appeal is recommended.

It is important to keep in mind that while a lawyer might be able to help the filing, there are some circumstances where they cannot help the process. It is unlikely that a qualified bankruptcy lawyer can guarantee a certain outcome or that the decision will be overturned.