Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
Chapter 14. Evidence
11/22/2019

§ 8.01-391. Copies of originals as evidence (Subdivision (6) of Supreme Court Rule 2:902 derived in part from subsection D of this section and Supreme Court Rule 2:1005 derived from this section).

A. Whenever the original of any official publication or other record has been filed in an action or introduced as evidence, the court may order the original to be returned to its custodian, retaining in its stead a copy thereof. The court may make any order to prevent the improper use of the original.

B. If any department, division, institution, agency, board, or commission of this Commonwealth, of another state or country, or of the United States, or of any political subdivision or agency of the same, acting pursuant to the law of the respective jurisdiction or other proper authority, has copied any record made in the performance of its official duties, such copy shall be as admissible into evidence as the original, whether the original is in existence or not, provided that such copy is authenticated as a true copy either by the custodian of said record or by the person to whom said custodian reports, if they are different, and is accompanied by a certificate that such person does in fact have the custody.

C. If any court or clerk's office of a court of this Commonwealth, of another state or country, or of the United States, or of any political subdivision or agency of the same, has copied any record made in the performance of its official duties, such copy shall be admissible into evidence as the original, whether the original is in existence or not, provided that such copy is authenticated as a true copy by a clerk or deputy clerk of such court.

D. If any business or member of a profession or calling in the regular course of business or activity has made any record or received or transmitted any document, and again in the regular course of business has caused any or all of such record or document to be copied, the copy shall be as admissible in evidence as the original, whether the original exists or not, provided that such copy is satisfactorily identified and authenticated as a true copy by a custodian of such record or by the person to whom said custodian reports, if they be different, and is accompanied by a certificate that said person does in fact have the custody. Such identification and authentication may be made through witness testimony or a certificate by affidavit or by declaration pursuant to § 8.01-4.3, or a combination of witness testimony and a certificate. Copies in the regular course of business shall be deemed to include reproduction at a later time, if done in good faith and without intent to defraud. Copies in the regular course of business shall include items such as checks which are regularly copied before transmission to another person or bank, or records which are acted upon without receipt of the original when the original is retained by another party.

E. The original of which a copy has been made may be destroyed unless its preservation is required by law or its validity has been questioned.

F. The introduction in an action of a copy under this section precludes neither the introduction or admission of the original nor the introduction of a copy or the original in another action.

G. Copy, as used in this section, shall include photographs, microphotographs, photostats, microfilm, microcard, printouts or other reproductions of electronically stored data, or copies from optical disks, electronically transmitted facsimiles, or any other reproduction of an original from a process which forms a durable medium for its recording, storing, and reproducing.

Code 1950, §§ 8-266, 8-267, 8-268, 8-278, 8-279, 8-279.1, 8-279.2; 1950, pp. 604, 640; 1954, c. 333; 1968, c. 723; 1972, cc. 441, 549, 645, 786; 1973, c. 177; 1977, cc. 532, 617; 1978, c. 75; 1979, c. 447; 1989, c. 212; 1990, c. 355; 1991, c. 145; 1992, c. 393; 2000, c. 334; 2012, c. 802; 2014, c. 398.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.