1 East Main Street
Front Royal, Virginia 22630
Telephone: (540) 635-2435
Fax: (540) 636-3274
The circuit court is the trial court of general jurisdiction in Virginia, and the court has authority to try a full range of both civil and criminal cases. Civil cases involve disputes essentially private in nature between two or more parties; criminal cases are controversies between the Commonwealth and persons accused of a crime. Only in a circuit court is a jury provided for the trail of many of these disputes and controversies.
In civil cases, the circuit court has concurrent jurisdiction with the general district court over claims from $4,500 to $25,000 and exclusive orginial jurisdiction over almost all claims exceeding $25,000. The circuit court also has jurisdiction over divorce cases, disputes concerning wills and estates, and controversies involving real property. In criminal cases, the circuit court has jurisdiction over the trial of all felonies (offenses that may be punished by commitment to the penitentiary) and most of those misdemeanors (offenses carrying a penalty of not more than twelve months in jail) on appeal form district court or originally charged in circuit court. The circuit court also has jurisdiction over juveniles age 14 and older who are charged with felonies and whose cases have been certified or transferred by the judge of a juvenile and domestic relations court for trial in circuit court.
The circuit court has appellate jurisdiction over all appeals from the general district court and the juvenile and domestic relations district court. Appeals from these district courts are heard de novo; that is, the cases are tried from the beginning as though there had been no prior trial. The circuit court's appellate jurisdiction also extends to appeals from certain administrative agencies.
The Honorable Ronald Lewis Napier, Presiding Judge
The Honorable D.L. Hupp, Presiding Judge
The Honorable Clifford L. Athey, Jr., Presiding Judge, Chief Judge
The Honorable Thomas J. Wilson, IV
The Honorable Bruce D. Albertson
The Honorable Clark A. Ritchie
The Honorable N. Randolph Bryant
The Honorable Alexander R. Iden
A circuit court judge is elected for an eight-year term by a majority vote of both houses of the General Assembly. If the General Assembly is not in session when a vacancy occurs, the Governor temporarily appoints a judge (interim appointment) to serve until the General Assembly meets again and can elect a judge for a full term. The chief judge of the circuit is elected by majority vote of the judges serving the circuit. Circuit court judges are required to reside in the circuit they serve and must have been admitted to the Virginia Bar at least five years prior to election or appointment.
Terms and General Information:
- Terms Begin the First Monday of January, April, July, and October
- Civil Motion Day: Third Thursday of Each Month
- Misdemeanor Appeals Days: Third Monday of Each Month
- Grand Juries: First Day of Each Term and Other Days as Needed
- Praecipe Must be Filed Seven Days Preceding Motion Day
- Court Convenes at 9:00 am
- Commissioners in Chancery are Utilized Only in Certain Cases
- Pretrial Conference Required in Most Civil Cases
- Local Rules Adopted Pursuant to Section 8.01-4
Clerk, 26th Circuit
Phone: (540) 635-2435