Commissions of Appeals

By: Margaret Waters

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

At different times in the history of Texas, commissions of appeals have been established to assist various courts. The first one was established by the legislature on July 9, 1879, to determine, with the consent of the parties involved, cases pending in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. The commission was composed of three lawyers appointed by the governor. On July 9, 1881, the legislature passed an act which provided for the continuance of the commission, and the courts were authorized to refer civil cases without the consent of those involved. In 1891 Texas had two commissions, each with three members; these were abolished when the system of appellate courts was organized to consist of the Supreme Court, Courts of Civil Appeals, and the Court of Criminal Appeals. In 1918, because the Supreme Court was several years behind with its docket, another Commission of Appeals was established in two sections with three commissioners each. Decisions had to be submitted and accepted by the Court of Civil Appeals of the Supreme Court. Later in 1945, when the Supreme Court was expanded to nine members, that commission was abolished. A commission consisting of two members was set up to assist the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1925. The commissioners were appointed by the court for two-year terms and had to meet the requirement of at least ten years' service as lawyers or judges. In the latter half of the twentieth century the commission went into virtual inactive status. The last commissioner of appeal was appointed in August 1981. In the 1990s the office still existed, but no commissioners were serving.

Keith Carter, "The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals," Texas Law Review 11 (December 1932, February, April, June 1933). Robert W. Stayton and M. P. Kennedy, "A Study of Pendency in Texas Civil Litigation," Texas Law Review 21, 23 (April 1943, June 1945). John C. Townes, "Development of the Texas Judicial System," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 2 (July, October 1898).
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Organizations
  • Boards

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Margaret Waters, “Commissions of Appeals,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994