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Understanding the Court of Appeals of Virginia: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the Court of Appeals of Virginia

As a vital component of the Virginia judicial system, the Court of Appeals of Virginia plays a significant role in reviewing decisions from lower courts and ensuring fair and efficient appellate review. Established on January 1, 1985, this intermediate appellate court was created to increase the capacity for appellate review and expedite the judicial process. In this blog post, we will explore the Court of Appeals, the common reasons people interact with it, and the crucial role of legal representation.

History and Structure

The need for expanded appellate capacity in Virginia was first identified in 1971, leading to the establishment of the Court of Appeals in 1985. Initially comprising ten judges, the Court expanded its capacity with the addition of an eleventh judge in 2000 and six more in 2021, bringing the total number of judges to seventeen.

The Court of Appeals consists of judges elected for eight-year terms by the General Assembly. Additionally, the Court may designate retired judges to serve as senior judges. The judges elect a chief judge by majority vote to serve a four-year term.

Jurisdiction and Common Interactions

The Court of Appeals reviews decisions from lower courts, providing appellate review in various types of cases. Common reasons people interact with the Court of Appeals include:

  1. Appeals from Circuit Courts: Any final judgment, order, or decree of a circuit court can be appealed to the Court of Appeals.
  2. Traffic and Criminal Matters: Final orders of conviction in traffic or criminal cases are subject to appeal.
  3. Workers' Compensation Commission: Final decisions from the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission can be appealed to the Court.
  4. Appeals from Administrative Agencies: Final decisions of administrative agencies, grievance hearing decisions, and applications for concealed weapons permits are eligible for appeal.
  5. Injunctions and Pre-trial Rulings: Certain preliminary rulings in felony cases, interlocutory orders, and pre-trial rulings can be appealed through a petition process.

The Importance of Legal Representation

When interacting with the Court of Appeals, legal representation is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Understanding Appellate Procedures: Navigating the appellate process can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of the rules and procedures unique to the Court of Appeals.
  2. Presenting Strong Arguments: Legal representation ensures that your case is presented persuasively, with well-researched legal arguments and relevant case law.
  3. Advocating for Your Rights: An experienced attorney will advocate for your rights and interests, ensuring that you receive a fair and just outcome.
  4. Filing Timely and Accurate Documents: Meeting deadlines and submitting accurate documents are critical in the appellate process, and legal representation helps ensure compliance.
  5. Access to Experienced Advocates: Attorneys with experience in appellate practice have the expertise to effectively handle your case before the Court of Appeals.

At Carroll & Nuttall, P.C., we have a team of skilled attorneys experienced in appellate practice and committed to providing comprehensive legal representation. If you are facing an appeal before the Court of Appeals of Virginia, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to guide you through the process, protect your rights, and work toward a favorable resolution for your case. Your success is our priority, and we are ready to advocate on your behalf.


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