Virginia Case Law
The Virginia state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Virginia is the Virginia Supreme Court, which consists of seven judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Court of Appeals of Virginia. It also reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts in limited situations. Decisions by the Virginia Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The middle level of the Virginia state court system is the Court of Appeals of Virginia, which consists of 11 judges. This court was created in 1985 to improve the efficiency of the state judicial system. In most cases, decisions by the Court of Appeals are final unless the Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The lowest level of the Virginia state court system consists primarily of the Virginia Circuit Courts and the Virginia District Courts. The Circuit Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by District Courts. The jurisdiction of the District Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include misdemeanors, traffic violations, and civil matters with no more than $25,000 at issue.
Virginia also has a magistrate system, which is divided into eight regions. The Virginia Magistrates review complaints of criminal conduct, hold bail hearings, and issue arrest warrants, search warrants, summonses, subpoenas, bonds, and some civil warrants.