How to Brief a Case: Tutorial

This portion of the case "brief" should describe, in simple procedural terms, just how the case has progressed to the current appeal. In other words, its purpose is simply to tell HOW the case came before the appellate court which has written the opinion that is the subject of the case "brief." To determine the precise procedural steps through which each individual case has traveled, it may be helpful to refer to the "Procedural History" TIMELINE chart which provides a visual display of the various procedural stages involved in a typical civil case.

Examples of the "procedural history" portion of a "brief" might include statements such as "the trial court dismissed the Plaintiff's complaint;" "Plaintiff appeals a jury verdict returned in favor of the Defendant;" or "the intermediate appellate court reversed a jury verdict that had been returned in favor of the Plaintiff." Although case "briefs" sometimes also include specific legal reasons given by the lower court(s) for the action(s) taken, it is generally unnecessary to include such reasons in the "procedural history" portion of the "brief," since (if otherwise relevant) they will almost certainly be included in other portions of the case "brief."

Procedural History of the Case

Edward C. Martin

To view descriptions of each element of a case "brief,"  CLICK on the appropriate link below.


Type of Action


Procedural History

Contentions of Parties