The California Courts of Appeal

Statistics on the Time to Complete An Appeal

It takes considerable time for an appeal to be completed. Once the notice of appeal is filed, the record must be prepared, the parties must then brief the case, present oral argument, and then officially submit the case. Once the case is submitted, the court must then decide the case and write an opinion, even if the opinion will not be officially published.

As the following chart shows, it takes almost 1 1/2 years on average to complete a civil appeal, 1 year and 2 months on average to complete a criminal appeal, and about 9 months on average to complete a juvenile appeal. However, there is a considerable variation in this schedule between districts, and even between divisions within a district.

For a current estimate from the clerks' office, click here.

Timing of Appeals
Median Time (50th Percentile) in Months
1996-1997

  Notice of appeal to filing of opinion Fully briefed to filing of opinion
  Civil Criminal Juvenile Civil Criminal Juvenile
Statewide 17.6 13.7 9.0 5.1 4.0 2.6
First District (Average) 13.5 12.1 10.2 5.1 3.3 2.5
Division One 12.1 11.0 10.5 3.8 2.5 1.9
Division Two 15.9 14.8 10.7 8.1 5.7 3.1
Division Three 15.2 14.4 10.9 6.7 4.7 2.9
Division Four 11.7 10.8 9.0 4.0 2.2 1.7
Division Five 12.2 11.5 9.8 3.7 3.2 2.6
Second District (Average) 18.2 13.5 9.1 3.3 2.5 2.2
Division One 17.9 13.4 7.9 2.1 1.7 1.7
Division Two 18.5 14.0 9.1 3.0 2.2 2.3
Division Three 20.4 15.5 9.6 4.3 3.8 2.6
Division Four 21.5 14.1 9.3 4.9 3.0 2.4
Division Five 17.6 13.0 9.3 3.3 1.9 2.2
Division Six 11.7 10.2 8.0 3.2 2.4 2.1
Division Seven 19.8 14.9 9.7 3.0 2.8 2.3
Third District 13.8 13.1 7.8 5.6 4.7 1.8
Fourth District (Average) 28.5 15.5 8.5 18.7 5.7 3.7
Division One 29.4 14.0 7.5 20.6 4.7 3.5
Division Two 25.0 15.2 9.8 13.4 5.4 3.3
Division Three 31.9 19.4 9.3 24.5 11.5 4.0
Fifth District 16.8 13.8 9.4 10.1 6.4 3.1
Sixth District 13.4 12.1 9.8 5.0 4.2 3.4

Source: Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts


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