Appeals are a formal legal means to ask for a new review of a decision taken by an authority or office. The aim is to afford legal protection to citizens. The procedure is dictated by the law of the authorities to which the decision-making authority belongs (canton or Confederation).

Generally speaking, it is only possible to lodge an appeal within a fixed period of time. Appeals must be made in writing, substantiated and signed. Any decision that may be appealed must indicate the avenues of appeal and the deadlines for lodging appeals.

Appeals to a supervisory authority are a particular form of appeal. They are lodged with a superior authority (e.g. the Federal Administrative Court) against a decision made by an office or cantonal administrative service once all appeals to lower courts have been exhausted (up to the cantonal or federal department level).