An appeal can be a powerful tool for litigants. An appeal allows an appellate court, a new group of judges, to review whether certain contested issues were properly ruled and decided on by the district court judge. For example, strong appellate advocacy can potentially reverse multimillion dollar verdicts or confirm that an early dismissal was proper. To help the appellate courts review district court rulings, litigants are guided by certain rules known as the rules of appellate procedure. A sharp understanding of these rules is important to help streamline an appeal to prevent unnecessary delay as well as help focus on the issues being appealed.

On April 1, 2024, comprehensive amendments went into effect for the Iowa Rules of Appellate Procedure. These amendments substantially impacted the appellate briefing process and what materials need to be submitted with the appeal for the benefit of the appellate court.

One of the most important amendments was the elimination of a “proof” brief and an appendix. Previously litigants would file a “proof” brief and an appendix containing relevant district court filings. The litigants would then a “final” brief that could only correct typographical errors and insert references. Under the new rules, a party simply files one brief and must attach the relevant order(s) being appealed in lieu of an appendix. However, a party may still file an amended brief pursuant to Iowa Rule of Appellate Procedure 6.901(8) to make necessary corrections as well as an appendix pursuant to Iowa Rule of Appellate Procedure 6.905, if needed.

The amendments also changed certain content and technical requirements for appellate briefs. Appellate briefs must now contain record citations consistent with the docketing number of the filing in the district court. Other amendments affecting content include specific materials regarding the introduction of the brief, barring specific arguments (e.g. filing a notice of appeal preserved error), and specific citations for issues involving an independent state constitutional issue. Important technical amendments include reducing the amount of words allowed for appellate briefs, and usage of images in a brief.

For more information on these rule changes, the Iowa Judicial Branch has several helpful documents identifying these amendments at this website: Appellate Procedure Overview | Iowa Judicial Branch (

If you need help with your appeal, we recommend you contact an experienced appellate attorney. Appellate Law Attorneys and Lawyers In Omaha, Nebraska – LDM (