Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
Chapter 1. General Provisions As to Civil Cases
6/15/2021

Chapter 1. General Provisions As to Civil Cases.

§ 8.01-1. How proceedings may be in actions pending when title takes effect.

Except as may be otherwise provided in § 8.01-256 of Chapter 4 (§ 8.01-228 et seq.) (Limitations of Actions), all provisions of this title shall apply to causes of action which arose prior to the effective date of any such provisions; provided, however, that the applicable law in effect on the day before the effective date of the particular provisions shall apply if in the opinion of the court any particular provision (i) may materially change the substantive rights of a party (as distinguished from the procedural aspects of the remedy) or (ii) may cause the miscarriage of justice.

Code 1950, § 8-2; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-1.1. References to former sections, articles and chapters of Title 8 and other titles.

Whenever in this title any of the conditions, requirements, provisions or contents of any section, article or chapter of Title 8 or any other title of this Code as such titles existed prior to October 2, 1977, are transferred in the same or in modified form to a new section, article or chapter of this title or any other title of this Code and whenever any such former section, article or chapter is given a new number in this or any other title, all references to any such former section, article or chapter of Title 8 or such other title appearing elsewhere in this Code than in this title shall be construed to apply to the new or renumbered section, article or chapter containing such conditions, requirements, provisions or contents or portions thereof.

1978, c. 422.

§ 8.01-2. General definitions for this title.

As used in this title, unless the context otherwise requires, the term:

1. "Action" and "suit" may be used interchangeably and shall include all civil proceedings whether upon claims at law, in equity, or statutory in nature and whether in circuit courts or district courts;

2. "Decree" and "judgment" may be used interchangeably and shall include orders or awards;

3. "Fiduciary" shall include any one or more of the following:

a. guardian,

b. committee,

c. trustee,

d. executor,

e. administrator, and administrator with the will annexed,

f. curator of the will of any decedent, or

g. conservator;

4. "Rendition of a judgment" means the time at which the judgment is signed and dated;

5. "Person" shall include individuals, a trust, an estate, a partnership, an association, an order, a corporation, or any other legal or commercial entity;

6. "Person under a disability" shall include:

a. a person convicted of a felony during the period he is confined;

b. an infant;

c. an incapacitated person as defined in § 64.2-2000;

d. an incapacitated ex-service person under § 64.2-2016; or

e. any other person who, upon motion to the court by any party to an action or suit or by any person in interest, is determined to be (i) incapable of taking proper care of his person, or (ii) incapable of properly handling and managing his estate, or (iii) otherwise unable to defend his property or legal rights either because of age or temporary or permanent impairment, whether physical, mental, or both. Such impairment may also include substance abuse as defined in § 37.2-100;

7. "Sheriff" shall include deputy sheriffs and such other persons designated in § 15.2-1603;

8. "Summons" and "subpoena" may be used interchangeably and shall include a subpoena duces tecum for the production of documents and tangible things;

9. "Court of equity," "law and equity court," "law and chancery court," "chancery court," "corporation court," "the chancery side," "court exercising powers in chancery," "court with equitable jurisdiction," and "receivership court" shall mean the circuit court when entertaining equitable claims;

10. A "motion for judgment," "bill," "bill of complaint," or "bill in equity" shall mean a complaint in a civil action, as provided in the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia;

11. "Equity practice," "equity procedure," "chancery practice," and "chancery procedure" shall mean practice and procedure in a civil action as prescribed by this Code and the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia.

1977, c. 617; 1988, c. 37; 1997, c. 921; 2005, cc. 681, 716.

§ 8.01-3. Supreme Court may prescribe rules; effective date and availability; indexed, and annotated; effect of subsequent enactments of General Assembly.

A. The Supreme Court, subject to §§ 17.1-503 and 16.1-69.32, may, from time to time, prescribe the forms of writs and make general regulations for the practice in all courts of the Commonwealth; and may prepare a system of rules of practice and a system of pleading and the forms of process and may prepare rules of evidence to be used in all such courts. This section shall be liberally construed so as to eliminate unnecessary delays and expenses.

B. The Supreme Court, subject to § 30-399, shall enact rules and procedures as may be necessary for implementing the requirements of Article II, Section 6-A of the Constitution of Virginia, empowering the Supreme Court to establish congressional or state legislative districts as provided for in that section.

C. New rules and amendments to rules shall not become effective until 60 days from adoption by the Supreme Court, and shall be made available to all courts, members of the bar, and the public.

D. The Virginia Code Commission shall publish and cause to be properly indexed and annotated the rules adopted by the Supreme Court, and all amendments thereof by the Court, and all changes made therein pursuant to subsection E.

E. The General Assembly may, from time to time, by the enactment of a general law, modify or annul any rules adopted or amended pursuant to this section. In the case of any variance between a rule and an enactment of the General Assembly such variance shall be construed so as to give effect to such enactment.

F. Any amendment or addition to the rules of evidence shall be adopted by the Supreme Court on or before November 15 of any year and shall become effective on July 1 of the following year unless the General Assembly modifies or annuls any such amendment or addition by enactment of a general law. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Supreme Court, at any time, may amend the rules to conform with any enactment of the General Assembly and correct unmistakable printer's errors, misspellings, unmistakable errors to statutory cross-references, and other unmistakable errors in the rules of evidence.

G. When any rule contained in the rules of evidence is derived from one or more sections of the Code of Virginia, the Supreme Court shall include a citation to such section or sections in the title of the rule.

Code 1950, §§ 8-1, 8-1.1, 8-1.2, 8-86.1; 1950, p. 3; 1952, c. 234; 1954, c. 333; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 2; 1972, c. 856; 1977, c. 617; 1979, c. 658; 1984, c. 524; 2003, c. 280; 2012, cc. 688, 708; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, c. 56.

§ 8.01-4. District courts and circuit courts may prescribe certain rules.

The district courts and circuit courts may, from time to time, prescribe rules for their respective districts and circuits. Such rules shall be limited to those rules necessary to promote proper order and decorum and the efficient and safe use of courthouse facilities and clerks' offices. No rule of any such court shall be prescribed or enforced which is inconsistent with this statute or any other statutory provision, or the Rules of Supreme Court or contrary to the decided cases, or which has the effect of abridging substantive rights of persons before such court. Any rule of court which violates the provisions of this section shall be invalid.

The courts may prescribe certain docket control procedures which shall not abridge the substantive rights of the parties nor deprive any party the opportunity to present its position as to the merits of a case solely due to the unfamiliarity of counsel of record with any such docket control procedures. No civil matter shall be dismissed with prejudice by any district or circuit court for failure to comply with any rule created under this section.

Code 1950, § 8-1.3; 1970, c. 366; 1977, c. 617; 1999, c. 839; 2000, c. 803; 2014, c. 348.

§ 8.01-4.1. How jurisdiction determined when proceeding is on penal bond.

When a proceeding before a court is on a penal bond, with condition for the payment of money, the jurisdiction shall be determined as if the undertaking to pay such money had been without a penalty. And when jurisdiction depends on the amount of a judgment, if it be on such a bond, the jurisdiction shall be determined by the sum, payment whereof will discharge the judgment.

Code 1950, § 8-3; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-4.2. Who may execute bond for obtaining writ or order.

A bond for obtaining any writ or order may be executed by any person with sufficient surety, though neither be a party to the case.

Code 1950, § 8-4; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-4.3. Unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury; penalty.

If a matter in any judicial proceeding or administrative hearing is required or permitted to be established by a sworn written declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath, or affidavit, such matter may, with like force and effect, be evidenced, by the unsworn written declaration, certificate, verification, or statement, which is subscribed by the maker as true under penalty of perjury, and dated, in substantially the following form:

"I declare (or certify, verify or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct."
This section shall not apply to a deposition, an oath of office, or an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public.

2005, c. 423.