Research guides

Pennsylvania Appellate Law and Practice

How to appeal

How you appeal a decision may depend on numerous factors, including the type of order/decision being appealed, where you are appealing from, and where you are appealing to. Please note that the ways to appeal listed below may not be a complete list and additional research may need to be conducted.

It is important to follow the relevant court rules when determining how to appeal. The Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure (Pa.R.A.P.) are freely available online in Title 210 of the Pennsylvania Code.

Many of the resources listed below provide information, including explanations and citations to relevant cases, on how to appeal. It may also be beneficial to consult the statutes and caselaw. See the Court Rules, Statutes, and Caselaw page of this guide for more information.

Notice of Appeal

Appeals from a trial court to an appellate court are generally by Notice of Appeal. This is generally laid out in the court rules. See Pa.R.A.P. Chapter 9 (R. 901-911): Appeals from Lower Courts. Please note that additional rules may also apply.

Select appeals from Commonwealth Court to Supreme Court may also require a Notice of Appeal. This is generally laid out in the court rules. See Pa.R.A.P. 1101: Appeals as of Right from the Commonwealth Court. Please note that additional rules may also apply.

Secondary sources often provide additional guidance. The following resources include information regarding notice of appeal. Select resources may also be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers or on our member databases. See below for more details.

The chapters/sections listed below are included as a starting place for that resource. Additional chapters/sections may apply. Consult the index or conduct a search in the resource to find additional material.

Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers.
See § 231.10: Notice of Appeal to Superior or Commonwealth Court and § 231.11: Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
Includes forms.

Pennsylvania Appellate Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers. Also referred to as Darlington.
See Chapter 9: Appeals from Lower Courts and Chapter 11: Appeals from Commonwealth Court and Superior Court.

Pennsylvania Civil Practice Handbook Bisel
See § 37.4: Taking the Appeal and § 37.15: Appeals to Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers and the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See Appeals.

Standard Pennsylvania Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Chapter 85, Part III, Subpart A (§§ 85:29 - 85:40): Notice of Appeal and Chapter 93, Part II (§§ 93:3 - 93:11): Appeal as of Right.

West's Pennsylvania Forms West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Civil Procedure, Part XV, Chapter 63, Subpart A (§§ 63:1 - 63:7): Appeals of Right and Notice of Appeal.
Includes forms.

Petition for Allowance of Appeal

Generally, to appeal a Commonwealth or Superior Court order, you must first petition for allowance of appeal.

According to Pennsylvania Statute 42 Pa.C.S. § 724(a), "Except as provided by section 9781(f) (relating to limitation on additional appellate review), final orders of the Superior Court and final orders of the Commonwealth Court not appealable under section 723 (relating to appeals from Commonwealth Court) may be reviewed by the Supreme Court upon allowance of appeal by any two justices of the Supreme Court upon petition of any party to the matter. If the petition shall be granted, the Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction to review the order in the manner provided by section 5105(d)(1) (relating to scope of appeal)."

Additional information regarding this process is generally laid out in the court rules. See Pa.R.A.P. Chapter 11 (R. 1111-1123): Petition for Allowance of Appeal.

Secondary sources often provide additional guidance. The following resources include information regarding appealing by petition for allowance for appeal. Select resources may also be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers or on our member databases. See below for more details.

The chapters/sections listed below are included as a starting place for that resource. Additional chapters/sections may apply. Consult the index or conduct a search in the resource to find additional material.

Advanced Appellate Advocacy Pennsylvania Bar Institute
See Chapter 4: Petitions for Allowance of Appeal in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers.
See § 231.12: Petition for Allowance of Appeal to the Supreme Court - Appeals From Superior Court and Commonwealth Court.
Includes forms.

Pennsylvania Appellate Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers. Also referred to as Darlington.
See Chapter 11, "Petition for Allowance of Appeal" (R. 1111 - R. 1123).

Pennsylvania Civil Practice Handbook Bisel
See § 37:15: Appeals to the Supreme Court.

Standard Pennsylvania Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Chapter 93, Part III (§§ 93:12 - 93:27): Petition for Allowance of Appeal.

West's Pennsylvania Forms West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Civil Procedure, Part XV, Chapter 63, Subpart J (§§ 63:160 - 63:161): Review of Commonwealth and Superior Court Actions by Supreme Court.
Includes forms.

Interlocutory Appeals by Permission

Appeal of an interlocutory order of a lower court or other government unit is generally taken "by permission".

According to Pennsylvania Statute 42 Pa.C.S. § 702(b), "When a court or other government unit, in making an interlocutory order in a matter in which its final order would be within the jurisdiction of an appellate court, shall be of the opinion that such order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the matter, it shall so state in such order. The appellate court may thereupon, in its discretion, permit an appeal to be taken from such interlocutory order."

Additional information regarding this process is generally laid out in the court rules. See Pa.R.A.P. Chapter 13 (R. 1301-1323): Interlocutory Appeals by Permission. Please note that additional rules may also apply.

Secondary sources often provide additional guidance. The following resources include information regarding appealing an interlocutory order by permission. Select resources may also be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers or on our member databases. See below for more details.

The chapters/sections listed below are included as a starting place for that resource. Additional chapters/sections may apply. Consult the index or conduct a search in the resource to find additional material.

Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers.
See § 231.13: Interlocutory Appeals by Permission - Petition for Permission to Appeal.
Includes forms.

Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers and the LexisNexis Digital Library.
Check index volume under Interlocutory Orders for relevant sections.

Pennsylvania Appellate Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers. Also referred to as Darlington.
See Chapter 13: Interlocutory Appeals by Permission.

Standard Pennsylvania Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Chapter 85 Part VI (§§ 85:117 - 85-125): Procedure for Interlocutory Appeal by Permission.

West's Pennsylvania Forms West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Civil Procedure, Part XV, Chapter 63, Subpart B (§§ 63:10-63:12): Appeals from Interlocutory Orders.
Includes forms.

Judicial Review of Governmental Determinations (Petition for Review)

Appeals from an administrative agency decision are generally by Petition for Review. Petition for Review may also be used in other situations. Consult the court rules, statutes, and caselaw or the resources listed below for more information.

This is generally laid out in the court rules. See Pa.R.A.P. Chapter 15 (R. 1501-1573): Judicial Review of Governmental Determinations. Please note that additional rules may also apply.

Secondary sources often provide additional guidance. The following resources include information regarding appealing an administrative agency decision. Select resources may also be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers or on our member databases. See below for more details.

The chapters/sections listed below are included as a starting place for that resource. Additional chapters/sections may apply. Consult the index or conduct a search in the resource to find additional material.

Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers.
See § 231.14: Review of Governmental Determinations by Petition for Review - Generally, § 231.15: Appellate Jurisdiction Petition for Review Based on the Record Below, § 231.16: Original Jurisdiction Petition for Review Based on a De Novo Record, and § 231.17: Original Jurisdiction Petition for Review of Determination of the Board of Finance and Revenue.
Includes forms.

Pennsylvania Appellate Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers. Also referred to as Darlington.
See Chapter 15: Judicial Review of Governmental Determinations.

Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers and the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See "Administrative Law and Procedure" Chapter 5: Judicial Review of Administrative Decisions.

Standard Pennsylvania Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Chapter 114, Part IV (§§ 114:121 - 114:142): Actions Seeking Judicial Review of Determinations of Government Units.

West's Pennsylvania Forms West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Civil Procedure, Part XV, Chapter 63, Subpart C (§§ 63:20-63:23): Petitions for Review of Administrative Agency Actions by Commonwealth Court.
Includes forms.

Petition for Specialized Review

Appeals of "certain discrete issues" may require a petition for specialized review. These may include bail orders, special prosecution orders, out-of-home placement in juvenile delinquency, and orders affecting the duration of an indicting grand jury. Additional issues may also require a petition for specialized review.

Additional information regarding this process is generally laid out in the court rules. See Pa.R.A.P. Chapter 16 (R. 1601-1613): Specialized Review.

Secondary sources often provide additional guidance. The following resources include information regarding appealing by petition for specialized review. Select resources may also be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers or on our member databases. See below for more details.

The chapters/sections listed below are included as a starting place for that resource. Additional chapters/sections may apply. Consult the index or conduct a search in the resource to find additional material.

Pennsylvania Appellate Practice West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers. Also referred to as Darlington.
See Chapter 16: Specialized Review.

Research Tip

Pa.R.A.P. Chapter 16 (R. 1601-1613): Specialized Review was issued January 7, 2020, effective August 1, 2020. As secondary resources, like treatises and form sets, are updated to reflect these new rules, additional titles will be periodically added to this guide.