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Code of Virginia
Title 16.1. Courts Not of Record
Chapter 4.1. District Courts
12/5/2022

Article 2. Districts; District Courts and Judges.

§ 16.1-69.6. Establishment of districts.

On and after July 1, 1973, the Commonwealth shall be divided into districts encompassing all counties and cities in the Commonwealth to provide a basis for the sound and efficient administration of the courts not of record, as follows:

(1) The City of Chesapeake shall constitute the first district.

(2) The City of Virginia Beach shall constitute the second district.

(2-A) The Counties of Accomack and Northampton shall constitute district two-A.

(3) The City of Portsmouth shall constitute the third district.

(4) The City of Norfolk shall constitute the fourth district.

(5) The Cities of Franklin and Suffolk and the Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton shall constitute the fifth district.

(6) The Cities of Emporia and Hopewell and the Counties of Prince George, Surry, Sussex, Greensville and Brunswick shall constitute the sixth district.

(7) The City of Newport News shall constitute the seventh district.

(8) The City of Hampton shall constitute the eighth district.

(9) The Cities of Williamsburg and Poquoson and the Counties of York, James City, Charles City, New Kent, Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, King William and King and Queen shall constitute the ninth district.

(10) The Counties of Cumberland, Buckingham, Appomattox, Prince Edward, Charlotte, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Halifax shall constitute the tenth district.

(11) The City of Petersburg and the Counties of Dinwiddie, Nottoway, Amelia and Powhatan shall constitute the eleventh district.

(12) The City of Colonial Heights and the County of Chesterfield shall constitute the twelfth district.

(13) The City of Richmond shall constitute the thirteenth district.

(14) The County of Henrico shall constitute the fourteenth district.

(15) The City of Fredericksburg and the Counties of King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Caroline, Hanover, Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland, Richmond and Essex shall constitute the fifteenth district.

(16) The City of Charlottesville and the Counties of Madison, Greene, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Goochland, Louisa, Orange and Culpeper shall constitute the sixteenth district.

(17) The County of Arlington and the City of Falls Church shall constitute the seventeenth district.

(18) The City of Alexandria shall constitute the eighteenth district.

(19) The City of Fairfax and the County of Fairfax shall constitute the nineteenth district.

(20) The Counties of Loudoun, Fauquier and Rappahannock shall constitute the twentieth district.

(21) The City of Martinsville and the Counties of Patrick and Henry shall constitute the twenty-first district.

(22) The City of Danville and the Counties of Pittsylvania and Franklin shall constitute the twenty-second district.

(23) The Cities of Roanoke and Salem and the County of Roanoke shall constitute the twenty-third district.

(24) The City of Lynchburg and the Counties of Nelson, Amherst, Campbell and Bedford shall constitute the twenty-fourth district.

(25) The Cities of Covington, Lexington, Staunton, Buena Vista, and Waynesboro and the Counties of Highland, Augusta, Rockbridge, Bath, Alleghany, Botetourt and Craig shall constitute the twenty-fifth district.

(26) The Cities of Harrisonburg and Winchester and the Counties of Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah, Page and Rockingham shall constitute the twenty-sixth district.

(27) The Cities of Galax and Radford and the Counties of Pulaski, Wythe, Carroll, Montgomery, Floyd, Giles, Bland and Grayson shall constitute the twenty-seventh district.

(28) The City of Bristol and the Counties of Smyth and Washington shall constitute the twenty-eighth district.

(29) The Counties of Tazewell, Buchanan, Russell and Dickenson shall constitute the twenty-ninth district.

(30) The City of Norton and the Counties of Wise, Scott and Lee shall constitute the thirtieth district.

(31) The Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, and the County of Prince William shall constitute the thirty-first district.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1974, c. 297; 1976, c. 126; 1977, c. 5; 1983, c. 149; 1986, c. 405; 1987, c. 624; 1992, c. 744; 2006, c. 861; 2016, cc. 164, 312.

§ 16.1-69.6:1. Number of judges.

For the several judicial districts there shall be full-time general district court judges and juvenile and domestic relations district court judges, the maximum number as hereinafter set forth, who shall during their service reside within their respective districts, except as provided in § 16.1-69.16, and whose compensation and powers shall be the same as now and hereafter prescribed for general district court judges and juvenile and domestic relations district court judges.

The maximum number of judges of the districts shall be as follows:

a
General District
Juvenile and Domestic
b
Court Judges
Relations District Court Judges
cFirst
44
dSecond76
eTwo-A21
fThird23
gFourth65
hFifth32
iSixth53
jSeventh44
kEighth33
lNinth34
mTenth33
nEleventh33
oTwelfth56
pThirteenth65
qFourteenth55
rFifteenth89
sSixteenth46
tSeventeenth32
uEighteenth22
vNineteenth128
wTwentieth43
xTwenty-first22
yTwenty-second24
zTwenty-third45
aaTwenty-fourth36
abTwenty-fifth45
acTwenty-sixth57
adTwenty-seventh55
aeTwenty-eighth33
afTwenty-ninth23
agThirtieth23
ahThirty-first55

The election or appointment of any district judge shall be subject to the provisions of § 16.1-69.9:3.

1974, c. 1; 1975, c. 41; 1976, c. 56; 1977, c. 5; 1978, c. 2; 1979, c. 7; 1980, c. 93; 1981, c. 26; 1982, c. 4; 1983, c. 1; 1985, c. 44; 1986, c. 75; 1987, c. 16; 1988, c. 22; 1989, c. 44; 1990, c. 112; 1992, c. 91; 1993, cc. 8, 31; 1994, c. 89; 1994, 1st Sp. Sess., cc. 3, 7; 1995, c. 20; 1996, c. 121; 1997, c. 16; 1998, c. 2; 1999, c. 11; 2000, c. 43; 2001, c. 16; 2004, Sp. Sess. I, c. 4; 2005, cc. 189, 228, 951; 2006, cc. 34, 488; 2006, Sp. Sess. I, c. 2; 2014, cc. 812, 822; 2016, c. 728; 2018, cc. 126, 135; 2020, cc. 343, 586.

§ 16.1-69.7. District courts.

On and after July 1, 1973, in every county and city there shall be one court which shall be called the "________________ (Name of County or City) General District Court" and one court which shall be called the "________________ (Name of County or City) Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court," and for each such court there shall be one or more judges who shall be called the judge of such general district court or juvenile and domestic relations district court as appropriate. Unless the General Assembly specifically so provides to the contrary, however, no general district court shall be established in any city in which there is no municipal court with general civil or criminal jurisdiction in operation prior to July 1, 1973, and jurisdiction previously exercised in such city by a county court shall be vested in the general district court of such county.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546.

§ 16.1-69.7:1. Establishment of certain district courts.

A. On and after July 1, 1973, there shall be established in the City of Galax, one general district court and one juvenile and domestic relations district court and for each such court there shall be one or more judges who shall be appointed and serve in accordance with Chapter 4.1 (§ 16.1-69.1 et seq.) of Title 16.1. Such courts shall possess all the jurisdiction and exercise all the powers and authority in cases therein granted to district courts according to general law, within the territory which they serve.

B. Each such judge shall cause to be collected such costs and fees as allowed by law for services performed by judges, clerks, or employees of the district courts. All fines and fees collected shall be accounted for according to general law and city ordinances and paid into the treasury of the city or to the State, whichever may be entitled thereto, pursuant to § 16.1-69.48.

1976, c. 319.

§ 16.1-69.8. Existing courts continued and redesignated; exception.

The present system of courts not of record is continued as follows on and after July 1, 1973:

(a) The county court in each county shall continue as the general district court of such county with the same powers and with territorial jurisdiction over such county and over any city within the county for which a municipal court with general civil or criminal jurisdiction or separate general district court has not been established.

(b) The municipal court or courts in each city, excluding juvenile and domestic relations courts, shall continue as the general district court of the city with the same powers and territorial jurisdiction over such city; provided that in the case of more than one such municipal court in operation in any city, all such courts shall be merged on July 1, 1973, and their powers and territorial jurisdiction merged in the general district court.

(c) The juvenile and domestic relations court of each county and city shall continue as the juvenile and domestic relations district court of the county or city with the same powers and territorial jurisdiction as heretofore provided.

(d) The municipal court of any town and/or other court of any town having general civil and criminal jurisdiction however called shall be abolished and all jurisdiction and power conferred upon any such court shall pass to and be exercised by the district courts having jurisdiction over the county wherein the town is located.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 2018, c. 164.

§ 16.1-69.9. Judges in office continued; terms of judges; how elected or appointed.

Every judge or justice and every associate, assistant and substitute judge or justice of a court not of record in office January 1, 1973, shall continue in office as a judge or substitute judge of such court under its designation as a general district court or juvenile and domestic relations district court until the expiration of the term for which he was appointed or elected, or until a vacancy shall occur in his office or until a successor shall be appointed or elected, whichever is the latter.

Upon the expiration of such terms, or when a vacancy occurs, successors shall be elected only as authorized pursuant to §§ 16.1-69.10 and 16.1-69.14 and for the term and in the manner following:

1. With respect to terms expiring on or after July 1, 1980, successors to judges shall be elected for a term of six years by the General Assembly as provided in subdivision 2.

Any vacancy in the office of any full-time district court judge shall be filled for a full term of six years in the manner prescribed herein; provided that such vacancy shall not be filled except as provided in § 16.1-69.9:3.

2. Full-time district court judges shall be elected by the majority of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly. No person shall be elected or reelected to a subsequent term under this section until he has submitted to a criminal history record search and submitted to a search of the central registry maintained pursuant to § 63.2-1515 for any founded complaint of child abuse or neglect and reports of such searches have been received by the chairmen of the House Committee for Courts of Justice and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. If the person has not met the requirement of filing in the preceding calendar year a disclosure form prescribed in § 2.2-3117 or 30-111, he shall also provide a written statement of economic interests on the disclosure form prescribed in § 2.2-3117 to the chairmen of the House Committee for Courts of Justice and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The judges of the circuit court having jurisdiction over the district may nominate a panel of no more than three persons for each judgeship within the district who are deemed qualified to hold the office. The General Assembly may consider such nominations in electing a judge to fill the office but may elect a person not on such panel to fill the office. Nominations shall be forwarded to the clerks of both houses of the General Assembly on or before December 15.

3. No person with a criminal conviction for a felony shall be appointed as a substitute judge.

If an appointment is to be made by two or more judges and there is a tie vote, then the senior judge of the circuit court having jurisdiction in the district shall make the appointment.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1975, c. 5; 1976, c. 374; 1977, c. 536; 1980, c. 194; 2004, c. 452; 2018, c. 578.

§ 16.1-69.9:1. Appointment, terms, etc., of substitute judges.

A. Substitute judges shall be appointed by the chief judge of the circuit court having jurisdiction within the district for a term of six years.

B. Each substitute judge shall be appointed to serve every general district court and every juvenile and domestic relations district court within the judicial district for which the appointment is made.

C. No person shall be appointed under this section until he has submitted his fingerprints to be used for the conduct of a national criminal records search and a Virginia criminal history records search, submitted to a search of the central registry maintained pursuant to § 63.2-1515 for any founded complaint of child abuse or neglect, and provided a written statement of economic interests on the disclosure form prescribed in § 2.2-3117. No person with a criminal conviction for a felony shall be appointed as a substitute judge.

1973, c. 546; 1975, c. 334; 2004, c. 452; 2018, c. 578.

§ 16.1-69.9:2. Vacancies in office of judges; terms of successor judges; appointment while General Assembly not in session.

Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of a full-time district court judge the successor shall be elected for a full term of six years and upon qualification shall enter at once upon the discharge of the duties of his office. But subject to the provisions of § 16.1-69.9:3, the judges of the circuit having jurisdiction over the district shall have the power while the General Assembly is not in session to fill pro tempore vacancies in the office of full-time district court judges. Appointment to every such vacancy shall be by commission to expire at the end of thirty days after the commencement of the next session of the General Assembly.

1973, c. 546; 1980, c. 194; 2001, c. 256.

§ 16.1-69.9:3. Investigation and certification of necessity before vacancies filled.

When a vacancy occurs in the office of any judge of any district, the vacancy shall not be filled until, after investigation, the Committee on District Courts certifies that the filling of the vacancy is necessary. The Committee shall publish notice of such certification in a publication of general circulation among attorneys licensed to practice in the Commonwealth. No notice of retirement submitted under § 51.1-305 or § 51.1-307 shall be revoked after certification of the vacancy by the Committee. If the Committee certifies that the filling of the vacancy is not necessary, it shall direct the manner of distributing the work created by the vacancy, and the vacancy shall not be filled if not certified as necessary.

1973, c. 546; 1975, c. 101; 1999, c. 319; 2004, c. 331.

§ 16.1-69.9:4. Same; election of successor judges.

Whenever a vacancy occurs or exists in the office of a full-time district judge while the General Assembly is in session, or whenever the term of a full-time judge of a district court will expire or the office will be vacated at a date certain between the adjournment of the General Assembly and the commencement of the next session of the General Assembly, a successor judge may be elected at any time during a session preceding the date of such vacancy, by the vote of a majority of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly, for a full term of six years and, upon qualification, the successor judge shall enter at once upon the discharge of the duties of his office. However, such successor judge shall not enter upon the discharge of his duties prior to the commencement of his term of office. No person shall be elected or reelected to a subsequent term under this section until he has submitted to a criminal history record search and submitted to a search of the central registry maintained pursuant to § 63.2-1515 for any founded complaint of child abuse or neglect and reports of such searches have been received by the chairmen of the House Committee for Courts of Justice and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. If the person has not met the requirement of filing in the preceding calendar year a disclosure form prescribed in § 2.2-3117 or 30-111, he shall also provide a written statement of economic interests on the disclosure form prescribed in § 2.2-3117 to the chairmen of the House Committee for Courts of Justice and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

1973, c. 546; 1993, c. 368; 2004, c. 452; 2018, c. 578.

§ 16.1-69.10. Number of judges.

The number of general district court judges and juvenile and domestic relations district court judges, excluding substitute judges, shall be determined as follows:

(a) Judges in office on January 1, 1973, shall be permitted to complete their terms pursuant to § 16.1-69.9;

(b) [Repealed.]

(c) On and after January 1, 1974, the number of judges authorized in each district shall be determined by the General Assembly based on the requirement that all judges whose terms commence on and after July 1, 1980, serve on a full-time basis; and

(d) On and after July 1, 1980, the number of judges authorized in each district by the General Assembly shall be based on the requirement that no district judge whose term commences on or after July 1, 1980, shall be elected to serve in more than one district or to serve both a general district court and juvenile and domestic relations district court in any district; provided, however, that a judge may serve more than one general district court or more than one juvenile and domestic relations district court in one district. The Committee on District Courts shall make a study and report to the General Assembly on or before December 1 of each year on the number of judges needed and the districts for which they should be authorized. If the Committee recommends the creation of an additional judgeship in any district, it shall publish notice of such recommendation in a publication of general circulation among attorneys licensed to practice in the Commonwealth.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1980, c. 194; 1999, c. 319.

§ 16.1-69.11. Chief judges; judges; substitute judges.

Judges of the district courts shall be designated as follows:

(a) In each district there shall be one chief general district judge and one chief juvenile and domestic relations district judge who shall serve as such for a term of two years commencing July 1 of the even-numbered years. The chief district judges shall be designated by judges of the district court having jurisdiction in the district. If the designation is to be made by more than one judge and there is a tie vote, then the chief circuit judge having jurisdiction in the district shall make the designation. The incumbent chief judge shall call for an election at the conclusion of the term as chief judge and shall report the results of such election forthwith to the office of the Executive Secretary. The incumbent chief judge may succeed himself;

(b) Each judge, except substitute judges, shall be designated either general district court judge or juvenile and domestic relations district court judge depending on the court he is so designated to serve; the terms "associate judge" and "assistant judge" shall no longer be applicable and wherever such terms appear in the Code of Virginia they shall be deemed to refer to either general district court judges or juvenile and domestic relations court judges as appropriate;

(c) Substitute judges shall continue to be designated as such.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1975, c. 334; 1976, c. 374.

§ 16.1-69.11:1. Acting chief judge.

If the chief judge of a district court is unable to perform the duties required by law, the chief judge shall notify the other judges of such district court, or if the chief judge is unable to notify the other judges, the judge longest in continuous service who is available shall provide such notice, and the judge longest in continuous service who is available shall be the acting chief judge, and perform such duties during the chief judge's absence. If two or more judges of such district court have served for the same period, the judge most senior in years shall be the acting chief judge. Upon assuming such duties, the acting chief judge shall immediately notify the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and the other judges of such district court.

When the chief judge is able to resume the duties of chief judge, the chief judge shall immediately notify the Executive Secretary and the other judges of such district court, and thereupon shall resume such duties.

2010, cc. 560, 596.

§ 16.1-69.12. Limitations on practice of law by judges.

(a) A general district court judge or juvenile and domestic relations district court judge elected as a full-time judge for a term commencing on or after July 1, 1980, shall be prohibited from engaging in the practice of law.

(b) [Repealed.]

(c) Substitute judges shall not appear as counsel in any civil or criminal case arising out of the circumstances which were involved in any other case brought before them.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1980, c. 194.

§ 16.1-69.13. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2018, c. 164, cl. 2.

§ 16.1-69.14. Number of substitute judges.

The number of substitute judges shall be determined as follows:

(a) Substitute judges in office on June 30, 1975, shall be permitted to complete their terms;

(b) Subject to the expiration of such terms, the Committee on District Courts shall determine the number of substitute judges for each district which shall be necessary for the effective administration of justice. In determining the total number of substitute judges authorized for each district, the Committee shall consider, among other factors, the number of full-time and part-time judges serving the district.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1975, c. 334.

§ 16.1-69.15. Qualifications of judges.

On and after July 1, 1973, every full-time judge and substitute judge of a district court shall be at the time of his appointment or election a person licensed to practice law in this Commonwealth.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546.

§ 16.1-69.16. Residence requirements.

A. Every judge or substitute judge of a district court shall, during his term of office, reside within the boundaries of the district in which he serves as set out in § 16.1-69.6; provided, that judges and substitute judges in office on January 1, 1977, or who are otherwise eligible may continue in office and shall be eligible for reappointment or reelection to successive terms in accordance with the provisions of § 16.1-69.10.

B. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the residency requirement set out herein shall not apply to any judge whose residence prior to July 1, 1977, is outside the boundaries of a new district created by § 16.1-69.6, if such judge is a resident in the geographical area which encompassed the prior district. This provision shall also apply to any subsequent term for which he is elected.

C. When the boundary of a judicial district is changed to create a new judicial district, any duly elected or appointed judge of the existing judicial district may continue to serve as judge of the new judicial district if he resides therein.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1977, c. 25; 1991, c. 403.

§ 16.1-69.17. Oath of office of judges, clerks and others.

Every judge, substitute judge, clerk, deputy clerk, and juvenile and domestic relations probation officer of a juvenile and domestic relations district court shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take the oath required by law. The oath of the judge and substitute judge shall be taken before a clerk of a court of record to which appeals from his court lie or any judge, and the oath of the clerk and other officers of the court shall be taken before the judge of the court he serves. Any oath taken before a judge or clerk prior to July 1, 1992, and otherwise conforming with this section is valid.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1992, c. 390; 1992, Sp. Sess., cc. 1, 2.

§ 16.1-69.17:1. Time within which a judge may qualify; failure to do so vacates office.

Any district court judge of this Commonwealth may qualify at any time after receiving his commission and before the expiration of thirty days after the commencement of his term of office; but if he fails to receive his commission until after the commencement of his term of office, he may qualify within thirty days from the date of receiving such commission. If a judge fails to qualify as above provided, his office shall be deemed to be vacant.

1976, c. 374.

§ 16.1-69.18. Bonds of judges, clerks, and others handling funds.

Before entering upon the performance of his duties every judge, substitute judge, clerk, deputy clerk or other officer or employee of a district court shall enter into bond before the clerk of a circuit court to which appeals from his court lie, except as hereinafter provided. The bond shall be in a penalty and with corporate surety approved by the judge of such appellate court. No such bond shall be in a penalty of less than $3,000, nor more than $75,000, and all such bonds shall be conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of the principal. The bonds shall be made payable to the Commonwealth and shall be filed with the clerk of such appellate court. Provided, however, that instead of specific bonds being given as stipulated herein, the Committee on District Courts may in their discretion procure faithful performance of duty blanket bonds for any or all of the districts enumerated in § 16.1-69.6 covering the judges, substitute judges, clerks and other personnel of the several district courts included in such districts and within the penalty limits contained in this section, unless in the discretion of the Committee, bonds with a larger maximum penalty should be obtained. Provided further, that in those instances where specific bonds for judges, clerks, deputy clerks or other officers or employees of a district court are in effect, the Committee on District Courts may, whenever they deem it advisable, terminate such specific bonds upon obtaining a blanket bond covering such court personnel with appropriate refund or credit being made for the unearned premiums on the specific bonds being terminated. A copy of any such blanket bond so procured shall be filed with the Division of Risk Management within the Department of Treasury and with the clerk of the respective circuit courts to which appeals from the decisions of the several district courts may lie. The premiums for such bonds shall be paid by the Commonwealth.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1974, c. 3; 1975, c. 334; 2002, c. 406.

§ 16.1-69.19. Incompatible offices.

No person shall at the same time hold the office of judge or substitute judge of a district court and the office of magistrate, clerk of a court, sheriff, treasurer, or commissioner of the revenue, or deputy of either of them. A full-time district court judge may not serve as a commissioner of accounts, commissioner in chancery or a marriage celebrant appointed by the circuit court pursuant to § 20-25, nor shall such judge, during his continuance in office, seek or accept any nonjudicial elective office, or hold any other office of public trust or engage in any other incompatible activity. If any judge of a district court shall accept any office for which he is ineligible under this section, such acceptance shall vacate his office as judge of such court.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1976, c. 374; 1993, c. 312.

§ 16.1-69.20. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1973, c. 546.

§ 16.1-69.21. When substitute to serve; his powers and duties.

In the event of the inability of the judge to perform the duties of his office or any of them by reason of sickness, absence, vacation, interest in the proceeding or parties before the court, or otherwise, such judge or a person acting on his behalf shall promptly notify the appropriate chief district judge of such inability. If the chief district judge determines that the provisions of § 16.1-69.35 have been complied with or cannot reasonably be done within the time permitted and that no other full-time or retired judge is reasonably available to serve, the chief district judge may direct a substitute judge to serve as a judge of the court, which substitute may serve concurrently with one or more of the judges of the court or alone. When reasonably necessary, the chief district judge may designate a substitute judge from another district within the Commonwealth. The committee on district courts may adopt policies and procedures governing the utilization of substitute judges. In such event, those policies and procedures will, where applicable, control. While acting as judge, a substitute judge shall perform the same duties, exercise the same power and authority, and be subject to the same obligations as prescribed herein for the judge. A substitute judge shall retain the power to enter a final order in any case heard by such substitute judge for a period of 14 days after the date of a hearing of such case. While serving as judge of the court, the judge or the substitute judge may perform all acts with respect to the proceedings, judgments and acts of any other judge in connection with any action or proceeding then pending or theretofore disposed of in the court except as otherwise provided in this chapter in the same manner and with the same force and effect as if they were his own.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1983, c. 128; 1984, c. 570; 2017, c. 650; 2020, c. 118.

§ 16.1-69.22. Removal of judges and substitute judges.

Any judge or substitute judge of a district court may be removed from office in the manner and for any of the causes prescribed in Chapter 9 (§ 17.1-900 et seq.) of Title 17.1; provided, that substitute judges may be removed from office under the provisions of §§ 24.2-230 through 24.2-238.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546.

§ 16.1-69.22:1. Temporary recall of retired district court judges; evaluation.

A. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may call upon any judge of a district court who is retired under the Judicial Retirement System (§ 51.1-300 et seq.) and who has been found qualified within the preceding three years by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee for Courts of Justice to (i) hear a specific case or cases pursuant to the provisions of § 16.1-69.35 with such designation to continue in effect for the duration of the case or cases or (ii) perform, for a period not to exceed 90 days at any one time, such judicial duties in any district court as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall deem in the public interest for the expeditious disposition of the business of such courts.

B. It shall be the obligation of any retired judge who is recalled to temporary service under this section and who has not attained age 70 to accept the recall and perform the duties assigned. It shall be within the discretion of any judge who has attained age 70 to accept such recall.

C. Any judge recalled to duty under this section shall have all the powers, duties, and privileges attendant on the position he is recalled to serve.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, the Chief Justice may call upon and authorize any judge of a district court whose retirement becomes effective during the interim period between regularly scheduled sessions of the General Assembly to sit in recall either to (i) hear a specific case or cases pursuant to the provisions of § 16.1-69.35, which designation shall continue in effect for the duration of the case or cases, or (ii) perform, for a period of time not to exceed 90 days at any one time, such judicial duties in any district court as the Chief Justice shall deem in the public interest for the expeditious disposition of the business of the courts.

E. All retired district court judges who have requested to sit in recall shall be evaluated during the final year of the three-year period following qualification by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee for Courts of Justice using an evaluation form prepared and distributed by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia. An annual report containing the results of such evaluations conducted that year shall be prepared and transmitted to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee for Courts of Justice by the first day of the next regular session of the General Assembly.

1990, c. 832; 2014, c. 776; 2022, c. 532.

§ 16.1-69.23. In what cases judge disqualified.

If the judge or substitute judge of any district court:

(1) Be a party to an action;

(2) Be interested in the result of any action, otherwise than as resident or taxpayer of the city or county;

(3) Be related to any party to the action as spouse, grandparent, parent, father-in-law, mother-in-law, child, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, first cousin, guardian or ward;

(4) Be a material witness for either party to the action;

(5) Be counsel for any party to the action;

he shall not take cognizance thereof.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546.

§ 16.1-69.24. Contempt of court.

A. A judge of a district court shall have the same powers and jurisdiction as a judge of a circuit court to punish summarily for contempt, but in no case shall the fine exceed $250 and imprisonment exceed 10 days for the same contempt. From any such fine or sentence, there shall be an appeal of right within the period prescribed in this title and to the court or courts designated therein for appeals in other cases, and the proceedings on such appeal shall conform in all respects to the provisions of §§ 18.2-456 through 18.2-459.

B. Any person charged with a felony offense, misdemeanor offense, or released on a summons pursuant to § 19.2-73 or 19.2-74 who fails to appear before any court or judicial officer as required shall not be punished for contempt under this provision but may be punished for such contempt under subdivision A 6 of § 18.2-456.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 2000, cc. 164, 185; 2019, c. 708.

§ 16.1-69.25. Judge may issue warrants, summons, and subpoenas.

Except as otherwise provided by general law, a judge of a district court may, within the scope of his general jurisdiction, issue warrants, summons, and subpoenas, including subpoenas duces tecum or other process, in civil, traffic and criminal cases, to be returned before his court, and may also issue fugitive warrants and conduct proceedings thereon in accordance with the provisions of §§ 19.2-99 through 19.2-104.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1994, c. 500; 2014, cc. 305, 310.

§ 16.1-69.25:1. Judge shall order bill of particulars; time for motion.

Upon request of either party, a judge of a district court may direct the filing of a written bill of particulars at any time before trial and within a period of time specified in the order so requiring. Motions for bills of particulars in criminal cases before general district courts shall be made before a plea is entered and at least seven days before the day fixed for trial.

1980, c. 338; 1998, cc. 482, 495.

§ 16.1-69.26. Judges as conservators of the peace.

The judge of each district court having criminal jurisdiction shall be a conservator of the peace within the limits of the territory in which he serves; and if such court is a city court, the judge thereof shall, except as otherwise provided by general law, also be a conservator of the peace for the area extending for one mile beyond the corporate limits of the city.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546.

§ 16.1-69.27. Additional powers of judges.

A judge of a district court may take affidavits and administer oaths and affirmations in all matters and proceedings, may issue all appropriate orders or writs, including orders appointing guardians ad litem in all proper cases, in aid of the jurisdiction conferred upon him, and may certify transcripts of the records and proceedings of the court for use elsewhere. But he shall have no authority to take acknowledgments to deeds or other writings for purposes of recordation.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546.

§ 16.1-69.28. Commitment of insane, etc., persons.

A judge of a district court shall have and may exercise, concurrently with special justices appointed for the purpose, the jurisdiction conferred by general law upon justices, and special justices in all matters in connection with the adjudication and commitment of incapacitated persons, including drug-addicted and inebriate persons, and the institution and conduct of proceedings thereof. Such proceedings may be had at any place within the jurisdiction of the court over which such judge presides.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 1997, c. 801.

§ 16.1-69.29. Jurisdiction over certain waters.

Where any river, watercourse or bay lies between any counties or any cities, or any county and city in this Commonwealth, the district courts therein, on each side, respectively, shall have concurrent territorial jurisdiction over so much thereof as shall be opposite to such counties and cities. And such courts for counties or cities lying on the waters bounding the Commonwealth shall have concurrent territorial jurisdiction respectively over such waters opposite such counties and cities, as far as the jurisdiction of this Commonwealth extends. But this section shall not apply to the City of Richmond.

1972, c. 708; 1973, c. 546; 2005, cc. 45, 114.