Appealing a Bankruptcy Court Decision

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How Do I Appeal a Bankruptcy Court Decision?

Bankruptcy court judges have the authority to rule on any matter connected to a bankruptcy case. This can involve decisions ranging your eligibility to file bankruptcy in the first place to your ability to discharge debts. In spite of their authority, if you are unhappy with a bankruptcy court judge’s ruling, you can appeal that decision. However, depending on what federal district you are in, your appeal might be handled differently because bankruptcy courts are different from other courts.

What Court Do I Appeal My Case To?

In about half of the federal districts in the United States, your appeal will by heard by the federal district court. If you wish to appeal the district court’s decision, you can then go to the federal Court of Appeals.

In the rest of the federal districts, if you wish to appeal your bankruptcy court decision, you need to go before a Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. At the panel, your case will be reviewed by a three-judge panel. If the panel gives you an unfavorable ruling, you can then appeal to the federal Court of Appeals.

Finally, if you are unhappy with the ruling by the Court of Appeal, you can request an appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court. However, unlike lower courts, the Supreme Court is allowed to choose which cases it hears, and it is extremely unlikely for the Supreme Court to choose to hear a bankruptcy case. If the Supreme Court does not hear your case, then the decision of the Court of Appeals is final.

Do I Need a Bankruptcy Attorney?

It is strongly recommended that you hire an attorney if you wish to appeal a Bankruptcy Court decision. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will be able to help you craft an appeal that has the best chance of success and if either the federal District Court or the Bankruptcy Appellate panel does not rule in your favor, your lawyer can help you decide whether or not to file an appeal.

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Last Modified: 03-25-2016 10:44 AM PDT

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