West Virginia State Courts

Courts – State Courts – West Virginia

Highest Court

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court consists of 5 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Appellate jurisdiction in civil matters over $100, in cases involving constitutionality of a law, and in felony and misdemeanor cases from Circuit Court. (2) Original and appellate jurisdiction for extraordinary writs.

General Courts

Circuit Court
The Circuit Court consists of 65 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions over $300. (2) Unlimited original criminal jurisdiction. (3) Appeals de novo from Family, Magistrate and Municipal Courts. (4) Some administrative appeals.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Limited Courts

Family Court
The Family Court consists of 35 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Divorce, annulment, separate maintenance. (2) Spousal and child support. (3) Paternity and grandparent visitation. (4) Domestic violence protective order final hearings. (5) Allocation of parental responsibility issues except those incidental to child abuse and neglect hearings.

Magistrate Court
The Magistrate Court consists of 158 magistrates. It has jurisdiction over (1) Small claims and landlord-tenant under $5,000. (2) Misdemeanors and traffic, and sentence less than 12 months. (3) Felony and misdemeanors preliminaries. (4) Domestic violence emergency hearings.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Municipal Court
The Municipal Court consists of 175 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Misdemeanors and traffic violations.

Additional Information

Regular terms.
The Supreme Court of Appeals shall have two terms to be held at Charleston.  The first shall begin on the second Tuesday in January and the second on the first Wednesday in September and shall adjourn when the business is finished.  However, due to extraordinary circumstances court may be held at other places within the state. (West Virginia Code  §51-1-5)

Hearing of cases at special term
At any special term of the court, any cause, the record of which has been previously printed, may, in the discretion of the court, be heard and decided by consent of parties or their counsel, entered of record, or upon at least thirty days’ notice in writing, given by the party desiring the hearing to the opposite party or his counsel, of his intention to insist on a hearing, when the same may, in the discretion of the court, be heard and determined at any such special term. (West Virginia Code  §51-1-8)

Use of private seal
In the absence of a private seal, until one is provide, each court clerk may use his/her private seal or scroll when such is needed.  The clerk should attest that an official seal was not available and that the private seal has the same effect as would an official seal. (West Virginia Code  51-3-2)

(West Virginia Code  §51-3-11)
Effect of changing time or place of session.

When the place for holding any court, or the day for commencing any term, is changed, or when a court fails to sit on any day appointed for it, or to which it may have adjourned, or when, for any reason, no court shall be held on any day within a term thereof, there shall be no discontinuance, but every notice, recognizance or process, given, taken or returnable to any such day or to any day between that day and the next that the court may sit, or to the day and place as it was before such change, and all matters ready for the court to act upon if it had been held on any such day, shall be in the same condition and have the same effect as if given, taken or returnable, or continued, to the substituted term or place, or to the next day of the same term that the court may sit, or to the next court in course, as the case may be.

Control of library by court; expenses
The supreme court of appeals shall have the responsibility of maintaining and keeping current the library.  All expenses necessarily incurred under the order of the court for the purposes of this article, including postage, freight and express charges, shall be paid out of appropriations for that purpose, under the order of the court.  (West Virginia Code  §51-8-4)

Services of senior judges
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is responsible for creating and maintaining a panel of senior judges so that the talent and experience of the former circuit court judges and supreme court justices  of West Virginia may benefit the judiciary branch of the state.  (West Virginia Code  §51-9-10)

Attorneys procuring employment through official or bondsman for consideration prohibited.
It is against the law for any attorney at law to compensate or reward a bondsman, police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, probation officer, assistant probation officer, bailiff, clerk, or other person of any criminal court for convincing a person to allow the attorney to represent him/her in any criminal case. (West Virginia Code  §51-10-4)


Inside West Virginia State Courts