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In a Texas appeal, what is a “petition for review”?

An appeal to the Texas Supreme Court is initiated by filing a “petition for review,” in which a party has an extremely limited number of words in which to convince the Supreme Court to allow a more lengthy filing (which is called a “brief on the merits”) and ultimately to grant review of a court of appeals decision of an appeal. See Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure 53, 55. A brief on the merits is also known as a “merits brief” or “full briefing.” Although a petition for review resembles a brief, a petition for review is technically not a “brief.” A petition for review is sometimes informally referred to as an “appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.” A petition for review is also referred to as a “PFR” or a “pet.” Before the Texas Supreme Court changed the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure effective September 1, 1997, there was an entirely different process for seeking review from the Texas Supreme Court, which was initiated by filing an “application for writ of error” rather than a “petition for review.” See former Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 130.

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