Appellate courts have jurisdiction to decide only issues actually before them on appeal and nothing else. They cannot render opinions on controversies or declare principles of law that have no practical effect in settling the rights of the litigants.
Only conclusions of law, not findings of fact made by a lower court, are reviewable.
Harmless Error The appellate court must decide whether the errors alleged to have been made by the trial court are harmless or prejudicial. An error that substantially injures the rights of one party is called a prejudicial or reversible error and warrants the reversal of the final judgment or order. However, an error that is technical or minimally affects the rights of the parties or the outcome of the lawsuit is considered a HARMLESS ERROR, insufficient to require a reversal or modification of the decision of the lower court.
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