Partial Record Sufficient

The party appealing must provide a sufficient record for the appellate court to review, “and in the absence of such a record, the reviewing court will presume that the trial court’s order was in conformity with established legal principles and had a sufficient factual basis.” Without a sufficient record, an appellate court “may dismiss an appeal or, in the alternative, summarily affirm the judgment of the trial court.”

But the appellate court has the last say on what comprises a sufficient record. For example, the First District Illinois Appellate Court ruled that a record was sufficient even though it did not contain a transcript of the trial or a bystander report.

In a dispute over shipping fees, the appellate court stated: “[t]he ‘failure to present a report of proceedings does not require automatic dismissal or affirmance where issues can be resolved on the record as it stands.’ … We find that dismissal or summary affirmance is not necessary in this case, as the issues on appeal can be resolved on the record as it stands. Included in the record are the parties’ stipulations at trial and the trial court’s order stating its reasons for finding in favor of defendants and against Marx.”

The whole case, Marx Transport v. Air Express International, No. 1-07-1953 (2/25/08), is available by clicking here.

Appellees often complain that an appellant has left crucial material out of the record. But if that material is important to your defense of an appeal, you had better take action to get into the record – never mind that it was appellant’s obligation to provide a complete record. What is “complete” for an appellant may not be “complete” for the appellee.