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What is an error of law?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2022 | Appellate Law |

When considering appeals, people generally list common reasons for that appeal. The specifics will be different from case to case, of course, but one of these overarching reasons needs to apply. In other words, someone isn’t simply appealing a ruling because they don’t like the outcome. They have to have a reason to make that appeal.

One reason that is sometimes cited is that an “error of law” led to an inaccurate judgment. But what does this mean exactly, and what is an error of law?

The court did not apply the law correctly

Essentially, an error in law means that the court examined the law in question and then applied it to the case, but they did so in an incorrect manner. You believe that the outcome should not be as it was ruled because you don’t think that the law says that in the first place.

This type of error is essentially being placed on the judge, for instance, in a criminal case. If the judge decides that the law means a person cannot do a certain action and the evidence shows that that person took that action, they could be found guilty. But the person could argue that the law doesn’t say that whatever they did is prohibited, so they’re not guilty of any sort of infraction, even if the evidence does support the fact that they took that action.

This is just one reason for an appeal, and you can see how the case may get complicated as you sort through the details. Be sure you are well aware of all of the legal steps you’ll need to take.