Effective January 1, 2022, appellate options in Virginia’s state courts are increasing with an expansion of the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Generally, the Court of Appeals will hear all appeals involving civil matters, which will be (mostly) appeals of right, rather than by petition for review. Specifically, Virginia Code § 17.1-405 provides that any “aggrieved party” may appeal to the Court of Appeals from:
- Any final order of a circuit court in a civil matter
- A final decision by the circuit court on an appeal from an administrative agency
- A final decision by the circuit court on an appeal from a state employee’s grievance hearing decision
- Any final decision of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
- Certain interlocutory orders (Virginia Code§ 8.01-267.8 and 8.01-675.5), which shall proceed under a petition for review
- A circuit court’s decision to grant or refuse an injunction (and matters related to it) (Virginia Code 8.01-626), which shall proceed under a petition for review
- Any final order of a circuit court involving an application for a concealed weapons permit (Virginia Code§ 18.2-307.1 et seq.)
- Any final order of a circuit court involving the involuntary treatment of prisoners (Virginia Code§ 53.1-40.1 or 53.1-133.04)
- Any final order of a circuit court involving declaratory or injunctive relief related to the exercise of religious freedom under certain circumstances (Virginia Code 57-2.02)
As to what is not covered, Virginia Code § 17.1-406 provides that direct appeals still remain with the Supreme Court of Virginia as to a narrow band of matters: (a) a final order of a circuit court involving a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, (b) a final order of the State Corporation Commission, and (c) certain proceedings involving the discipline of lawyers and law firms (Virginia Code §§ 54.1-3935 and 54.1-3937). In addition, the Supreme Court retains original jurisdiction over complaints filed by the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission. Further, the Constitution of Virginia remains unchanged, which states that original jurisdiction stands with the Supreme Court as to:
[C]ases of habeas corpus, mandamus, and prohibition; to consider claims of actual innocence presented by convicted felons in such cases and in such manner as may be provided by the General Assembly; in matters of judicial censure, retirement, and removal under Section 10 of this article, and to answer questions of state law certified by a court of the United States or the highest appellate court of any other state.
Both former law clerks at the Court of Appeals of Virginia, Jeff Geiger and Karissa Kaseorg assist attorneys and clients with litigation and appeals. If you have any questions about this post or other appellate issues, please contact Jeff at (804) 783-7248 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karissa at 804-783-7260 (email@example.com).