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How Should I Write a Letter of Appeal?

One example of a letter of appeal is when an attorney writes to lawmakers about reversing a decision.
Letters of appeal should be typed, not written by hand.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
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A written letter of appeal is a document that is appropriate when there is some type of objection to a decision that has been rendered. In a legal setting, a letter of appeal may be drafted by an attorney as an appeal for lawmakers to reverse a decision that currently defines some aspect of local law. In a business setting, a letter of appeal may be issued from a supplier to a vendor in hopes of restoring a lost working relationship or as a means for an employee to petition an employer to reverse some recent change in procedure. At its core, a letter of appeal is simply an attempt to have an authority reconsider some action or decision that has taken place.

The actual format for a letter of appeal is very simple and straightforward. With very little change from one environment to another, this basic format works just as well for appealing to local officials to reverse a recent decision to convert a one way street into a two way street as it does for an employee to ask an employer to reconsider a recent change to a vacation policy. In all instances, the letter of appeal should be typewritten rather than handwritten and should be structured in standard business letter form.

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The opening paragraph of a letter of appeal establishes who is writing the letter and what relationship the writer has to the issue that will be addressed. Along with establishing the identity of the writer, the first paragraph also clearly identifies the matter that is under appeal. Once these two facts are firmly established, the writer can move on to making his or her case.

During the second paragraph of the written appeal, the writer briefly reviews the nature of the issue that is the subject of concern. The key facts should be stated as clearly as possible, without any attempt to introduce emotion into the statement of the facts. Using a bulleted format as part of this paragraph may be useful to call especial attention to the rationale behind the current decision.

After establishing the facts used to reach the current decision, the letter of appeal moves on to begin making the case for reconsidering that decision. Here the writer will make use of other facts to refute the basis for the original decision. The idea is to provide sufficient reason for the decision to be given a second look by reviewing the information used before along with this new information that is called to attention in the letter of appeal. Like the second paragraph, this section of the appealing letter may use bullets as a way to call attention to facts that are particularly relevant to the situation.

The closing paragraph of the letter of appeal should simply summarize the position of the writer and urge the recipient of the letter to take all the facts presented into consideration as a basis for reversing the current decision. All verbiage used in this paragraph should be aimed at promoting a fair and unbiased approach to the re-evaluation, without casting any negative perceptions about anyone who was involved in making the decision now under appeal.

In fact, it is important that a letter of appeal remain relatively free of any type of emotions that hint at a lack of intelligence or attention to detail on the part of anyone involved in making the original decision. The purpose of a letter of appeal is not to denigrate the skills or thought processes of another person or group of persons. For this reason, the writer of a letter of appeal should confine any emotional verbiage to descriptions of his or her support for a reconsideration of the decision.

It is also important that the closing paragraph of the letter of appeal provide information on how the reader can contact the writer for further interaction on the matter. Regardless of the nature of the issue under consideration, thanking the reader for his or her time is essential to maintaining a professional posture.

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Discuss this Article

lmorales
Post 2

@ehernandez - You should definitely always pursue a Letter of Appeal. Most letters find their way into the recipient’s hands, are briefly read, and then filed away. The only way to get a good follow-up on a Letter of Appeal is to follow-up on it yourself. This could mean other means of communication such as an E-Mail or phone call; this is especially helpful if you are dealing with a rather large company or a business that will see a lot of letters like this such as the Government or a Municipal Court.

Being persistent can get you a lot of places in your life, but you have to remain diligent or you won’t get the answers you’re seeking.

ehernandez
Post 1

Has anyone really gotten a call back or has been reinstated after writing a letter of appeal. I attempted this once. I wrote two letters, about a month or so apart from each other. I never heard back from anyone. These types of letters are out there, but I haven't heard any success stories. Anyone out there, or is this a waste of time?

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