Virginia's Judicial System


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Judicial Policy Making Bodies

Judicial Council
The Judicial Council of Virginia is charged with the responsibility for making a continuous study of the organization, rules and methods of procedure and practice of the judicial system of the Commonwealth. It is also responsible for examining the work accomplished and results produced by the system and its individual offices and courts. A report of the proceedings and recommendations of the Council is made to the General Assembly and to the Supreme Court on an annual basis. (Virginia Code § 17.1-705)
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is presiding officer for the Council whose membership includes one Court of Appeals judge, six circuit court judges, one general district court judge, one juvenile and domestic relations district court judge, two attorneys qualified to practice in the Supreme Court and the Chairmen of the Committees for Courts of Justice in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates. Council members are appointed by the Chief Justice and serve for four years or at the pleasure of the Chief Justice. (Virginia Code § 17.1-700)

 

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Committee on District Courts
The Committee on District Courts was created to assist the Chief Justice in the administrative supervision of Virginia’s unified court system. Among the statutorily mandated responsibilities of the CDC are recommending new judgeships and certifying the need to fill district court vacancies, authorizing the number of clerks, magistrates and personnel in each district, establishing guidelines and policies for court system personnel and fixing salary classification schedules for district court personnel and magistrates. (Virginia Code § 16.1-69.33)
Membership of the Committee includes the Chairmen of the Committees for Courts of Justice in the Senate and House of Delegates, two members of each of the Courts of Justice Committees appointed by the respective Chairmen, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Majority Leader of the Senate of Virginia, one circuit court judge, two general district court judges and two juvenile and domestic relations district court judges. These judicial members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Chief Justice. (Virginia Code § 16.1-69.33)

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Judicial Conference of Virginia
The Judicial Conference of Virginia was organized to discuss and to consider means and methods of improving the administration of justice in the Commonwealth. Active members include the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court, all judges of the Court of Appeals and the circuit courts and all retired Justices and judges of these courts. The Chief Justice serves as President of the Conference. Six circuit court judges, one Court of Appeals judge and one retired judge are elected to serve on the Conference’s Executive Committee. The Conference conducts its business through nine standing committees.  (Virginia Code § 17.1-706)

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Judicial Conference of Virginia for District Courts
The Judicial Conference of Virginia for District Courts is similar to the Judicial Conference for circuit courts in its mission and responsibilities. Membership includes the Chief Justice, who serves as President and all active judges of the general district and juvenile and domestic relations district courts. Seven district court judges are elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Conference. The Conference has a committee structure similar to the Judicial Conference of Virginia. (Virginia Code § 16.1-218)

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