Records, Briefs, and Oral Arguments
In an appellate case, the parties submit briefs to the court containing arguments on the points of law at issue in the case. These are known as "merits briefs." A person or group that is not a party to a case but has a strong interest in the subject matter may also file an amicus curiae or "friend of the court" brief. In addition to briefs, the record of the trial court proceedings is submitted. The contents of the record vary by case but may include such things as a trial transcript, court orders, motions and other pleadings, exhibits, and instructions to the jury. Oral arguments pertaining to the points addressed in the parties' briefs are held by the court in most appellate cases.
Records and briefs and oral arguments can be useful tools for understanding a particular appellate decision or for developing legal arguments in similar cases.