Virginia's Judicial System


About the Supreme Court of Virginia

Although the Supreme Court of Virginia possesses both original and appellate jurisdiction, its primary function is to review decisions of lower courts. Virginia does not allow an appeal to the Supreme Court as a matter of right except in cases involving the State Corporation Commission, the disbarment of an attorney, and review of the death penalty.

The Court's original jurisdiction is limited to cases of habeas corpus (ordering one holding custody to produce the detained person before the Court for the purpose of determining whether such custody is proper), mandamus (ordering the holder of an office to perform his duty), prohibition (ordering a public official to stop an action), and actual innocence (based on biological testing) . The Supreme Court also has original jurisdiction in matters filed by the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission relating to judicial censure and retirement, and removal of judges.