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Virginia Court Records

The state of Virginia has a complex and interesting judicial system that includes many courts: the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, District Courts, and Virginia Magistrates. Each branch of this system produces documentation of its court proceedings which are later turned into publically accessible court records

Until recently, court records were stored in paper form or on microfilm in law libraries and the courthouses of record. To obtain a court record would mean appearing in person to make your request during business hours and having to travel between locations to find multiple types of court documents. Fortunately this is no longer the case for Virginia court records, due to the increasing capabilities of digital storage and accessibility of the Internet; court records are readily available to the public and legal professionals alike.

Virginia Court Records

History of Virginia Courts

At the close of the Revolutionary War, the General Assembly of Virginia created four Superior Courts, which included the Supreme Court of Appeals. This newly formed court formed a model for the early United States Supreme Court. Until 1788, the justices were not required to record written opinions, and it was Thomas Jefferson who first began to insist that the records be kept for each court decision.

Virginia Court Statistics

Virginia Courts recieve 1,848,829 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 1,491,076 filings and gave 1,490,887 dispositions. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 2,150,946 filings and had 2,156,239 dispositions.

Total State Caseloads

Year Caseloads
2012 1,491,076
2013 1,516,136
2015 2,237,158
2016 2,150,946

Virginia Court Records Availability

Virginia has one of the most comprehensive online databases for court records in the country. The appellate case management system allows you to search Supreme Court cases by first and last name, case type, lower tribunal, or tribunal case number. The same search categories are used to access court records online from the Court of Appeals. The General District Court provides online records for traffic, criminal and civil cases.

The Library Collection of Virginia is also state-of-the-art, providing national and state regulations, statutes, and court records. It serves as the reference collection for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and the legal community, as well as offers the full services of the library to the public. It is located in Richmond, the capital city of Virginia.

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Traffic: 1,290,741 (60.0 %)
Domestic Relations: 342,040 (15.9 %)
Civil: 518,165 (24.1 %)

Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Traffic: 1,296,363 (60.1 %)
Domestic Relations: 349,264 (16.2 %)
Civil: 510,612 (23.7 %)

Virginia Main Court Information

The Supreme Court is located in Richmond, and is the court of last resort for Virginia. The responsibilities of the Supreme Court include overseeing all cases appealed from the Court of Appeals, holding original jurisdiction over cases involving the interpretation of the state and federal constitutions, and admission of attorneys into practice in the state of Virginia. The Court of Appeals serves as the intermediate appellate court of Virginia and was created in 1985 to ease the caseload of the Supreme Court and expedite the process of the appellate court system. There are 11 justices serving on the Court of Appeals who are elected for eight-year terms.

Family Court Cases

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2015 349,993 2,237,158
2016 342,040 2,150,946

Domestic Relations Clearance Rates

Year Incoming Caseload Outgoing Caseload Caseload per 100,000 Population
2015 349,993 353,675 4,175
2016 342,040 349,264 4,066

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than Virginia

More Domestic Relations Cases than Virginia:

State: Caseload:
New York 570,709
Texas 397,468
California 388,903
Pennsylvania 342,163

Less Domestic Relations Cases than Virginia:

State: Caseload:
New Jersey 247,042
Florida 233,545
Ohio 205,293
Georgia 150,303
Illinois 141,703

Virginia Caseload Statistics

The Supreme Court of Virginia had a somewhat smaller caseload for the year 2013 with 2,050 filings and 1,997 dispositions. This is compared to the previous year which recorded 2,216 filings and 2,113 dispositions reached by the Supreme Court.

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

Year Civil Caseload Clearance Rate
2015 514,670 99
2016 518,165 99