Standards of Review: Abuse of Discretion

by | Nov 27, 2020

“The standard of review is a legal term which guides the appellate court regarding the degree of deference it must afford the trial court’s ruling.” In North Carolina, abuse of discretion is one of the standards of review frequently raised upon appeal. Abuse of discretion affords a high level of deference to the judgment of the lower court.

In cases where the lower court’s decision was discretionary upon the facts and evidence, “appellate review is limited to a determination of whether there was a clear abuse of discretion.” White v. White, 312 N.C. 770, 777, 324 S.E.2d 829, 833 (1985). The North Carolina Supreme Court has outlined abuse of discretion as “a test which requires the reviewing court to determine whether the decision of the trial court is manifestly unsupported by reason or is so arbitrary that it cannot be the result of a reasoned decision.” State v. Locklear, 331 N.C. 239, 248, 415 S.E.2d 726, 732 (1992).

North Carolina Rule of Appellate Procedure 28(b)(6) requires the argument section of an attorney’s brief to include the applicable standard(s) of review for each legal question addressed. An experienced appellate attorney will have the skills necessary to apply the tests required by the standard of review for each issue on appeal.

The Law Office of Mark L. Hayes is in a unique position as one of a small number of firms in North Carolina that practices solely in appellate law. Mr. Hayes has represented clients on appeal in nearly two hundred cases at all levels, including the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States. With years of experience in appellate matters, Mr. Hayes is well-versed in applying and arguing under the different standards of review used in North Carolina and their respective analyses.

For more information on standards of review in North Carolina, the Law Office of Mark L. Hayes invites you to view the other posts in this series:

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