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How Does the Louisiana Court of Appeals Work?

The Lousiana Courts of Appeal are the intermediate appellate courts in Louisiana. Each court of appeal has appellate jurisdiction over all civil matters appealed from the family and juvenile courts, all criminal cases tried by a jury originating within its circuits. The exceptions to these are cases appealable directly to the District Courts or the Supreme Court. Therefore, most civil and criminal appeals in Louisiana are handled by the Courts of Appeal.

Louisiana Courts of Appeal are divided into five circuits, with each circuit covering several parishes. Although court rules may vary from circuit to circuit, the Supreme Court established some uniform rules to be adopted by all courts of appeal in the state. These rules govern the practice and procedure in all appeals and writ applications to the Louisiana Court of Appeals.

The First circuit comprises of 12 judges and has jurisdiction over 16 parishes in southeastern Louisiana:

  • Ascension
  • Assumption
  • East Baton Rouge
  • West Baton Rouge
  • East Feliciana
  • West Feliciana
  • Iberville
  • Lafourche
  • Livingston
  • Pointe Coupee
  • St. Helena
  • St. Mary
  • St. Tammany
  • Tangipahoa
  • Terrebonne
  • Washington

Decisions and Dockets of the First circuit court of appeal are available online on the Decisions and Dockets pages of the circuit’s website. On the circuit’s website, published and unpublished opinions are available from August 15, 2006, to the present day. However, only published opinions are available up to August 15, 2006. Writ dispositions from the circuit from January 1, 2013, are also available on the decisions page. Users may search a case by providing the case number, case caption, or decision date. To access opinions prior to 2007, use the Opinions page on the circuit’s website. Individuals may contact the court at its physical location or mailing address:

Court of Appeal, First Circuit

1600 North Third Street

P. O. Box 4408

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70821

Phone: (225) 382–3000

Fax: (225) 382–3010

The Second Circuit Court of appeal, located in Shreveport, has nine judges elected from three election districts in the 20 northernmost parishes in Louisiana:

  • Bienville
  • Bossier
  • Caddo
  • Caldwell
  • Claiborne
  • De Soto
  • East Carroll
  • Franklin
  • Jackson
  • Lincoln
  • Madison
  • Morehouse
  • Ouachita
  • Red River
  • Richland
  • Tensas
  • Union
  • Webster
  • West Carroll
  • Winn

Opinions or dispositions of the Second Circuit Court of appeal are available online on the circuit’s website. Individuals may contact the court at:

430 Fannin Street

Shreveport LA 71101

Phone: (318) 227–3700

Fax: (318) 227–3735

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal is the largest of all the five circuits with 12 judges and 21 parishes in the southwest and central Louisiana:

  • Acadia
  • Allen
  • Avoyelles
  • Beauregard
  • Calcasieu
  • Cameron
  • Catahoula
  • Concordia
  • Evangeline
  • Grant
  • Iberia
  • Jefferson Davis
  • Lafayette
  • LaSalle
  • Natchitoches
  • Rapides
  • Sabine
  • St. Landry
  • St. Martin
  • Vernon
  • Vermilion

The circuit allows the public to search Opinions of the circuit by providing a case number on the search records section of the circuit’s website. Search results may be filtered by providing the day, month, or the publishing year of the Opinion. A record of all the court’s current hearing dates and other detailed docket information may also be accessed on the search records section of the Third circuit’s website. Persons may also contact the courthouse at:

1000 Main Street

Lake Charles, LA 70615

Phone: (337) 433–9403

Fax: (337) 491–2590

The Fourth Circuit of the Court of Appeal consists of ten judges and has jurisdiction over three parishes:

  • Orleans
  • Plaquemines
  • St. Bernard

The ten judges comprise eight from the Orleans Parish and one from St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish. The public may access the Opinions of the court online by providing:

  • Case Year and Number;
  • Case Title; or
  • Date Published

All Opinions lodged in a particular year (from 1997 till present) may also be accessed on the Opinions by Year page on the court’s website. The Fourth Circuit provides online access to the court’s dockets and cases information for matters handled in the circuit. Case information may be accessed by providing:

  • District Court Case Number;
  • Appellate Court Case Number; or
  • Attorney Bar Roll Number

Note that case information obtained on the Fourth circuit website may not suffice as court documents. To obtain actual court documents or any other information from the court, contact the court at the physical location or mailing address:

Physical Address

3rd Floor, 400 Royal Street

New Orleans, LA 70130

Phone: (504) 412–6001

Fax: (504) 412–6019

Email: coc@la4th.org

Mailing Address

410 Royal Street

New Orleans LA 70130–2199

The court is available Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. except on holidays.

The Fifth Circuit of the Court of Appeal has appellate jurisdiction which encompasses the parishes of:

  • Jefferson
  • St. Charles
  • St. James
  • St. John the Baptist

The public may access case information of matters that were handled in the circuit through the case search tool on the circuit’s website. To complete a search, users are required to provide:

  • Case Number;
  • District Court Number;
  • Litigant’s Name; or
  • Attorney Bar Roll Number/Year

Users may also access appellate cases with dispositions or writs that have been granted by selecting the pdf icon next to the case number for the particular case in the search results. Persons who cannot find their case in the search range may contact the Clerk’s Office at (504) 376–1400. Opinions of the court 1992 to present may be accessed by providing the Opinion month/year or Opinion Date information. Dockets from 2006 to present can also be accessed by providing the Docket month/year or the Docket date information.

To obtain actual court records from the Fifth Circuit, visit the location at:

101 Derbigny Street

Gretna, Louisiana 70053

Phone: (504) 376–1400

In all, there are 53 judges in the five Circuit Courts of Appeal. These judges usually sit in a panel of three to decide a case. The majority of a panel must concur before a case may be decided. To be considered for a judge’s position in the Louisiana courts of appeal, a person must:

  • Have practiced law for a minimum of ten years in the state;
  • Have been a resident of the district or the circuit for at least one year; and
  • Not be more than 70 years of age

Judges in the Courts of Appeal are elected to ten-year terms. However, they may be removed by the Supreme Court after a recommendation from the Louisiana Judiciary Commission or by a two-thirds vote of the Louisiana State Senate upon impeachment by the Louisiana House of Representatives.

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