West Virginia Judiciary

Rules of Appellate Procedure

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Part II. Attorneys and Unrepresented Parties


Table of Contents Full Table of Contents
  1. Attorneys
  2. Unrepresented parties

  1. Counsel of record. If more than one attorney is identified as counsel for a party on a document filed in connection with a case pending in this Court, the cover page of the document must clearly identify one attorney who is designated counsel of record for the represented party or parties. Unless otherwise ordered, counsel of record is required to be present at any oral argument scheduled by the Court. Unless otherwise ordered, service of documents upon counsel of record is deemed sufficient service upon other counsel listed on a brief or other paper filed on behalf of a party.
  2. Substitution of counsel of record. If, during the pendency of an action in this Court, the identity of counsel of record for a party changes, substituted counsel of record must file a notice of appearance, with copies to all other counsel of record or unrepresented parties, setting forth the circumstances requiring a substitution of counsel.  Substitution of counsel less than ten days prior to a scheduled argument is permitted only by leave of Court in extraordinary circumstances.
  3. Appearance by attorneys not admitted to practice in West Virginia.  Attorneys from other jurisdictions who are not members in good standing of the West Virginia Bar may not appear in a proceeding in this Court without first being admitted pro hac vice. Because an action in this Court is a separate proceeding, pro hac vice admission is necessary, including payment of the requisite fee under Rule 8 of the Rules for Admission to the Practice of Law, even if counsel has previously been admitted pro hac vice in the same case in a lower tribunal. A prospective filing may be lodged with the Clerk prior to the time that leave to practice pro hac vice has been granted only if a complete motion for admission pro hac vice is filed at the same time the prospective filing is lodged.
  4. Withdrawal of counsel.
    1. In order to withdraw as counsel in an action pending in this Court in which counsel has previously appeared, counsel must provide the Court with documentation that counsel has fully complied with the requirements of Trial Court Rule 4.03.  Counsel is not relieved of the obligation to comply with all applicable deadlines and obligations in the case until such time as the Court enters an order permitting counsel to withdraw.
    2. When counsel is directed by a client to file an appeal in a criminal case, habeas corpus case, or an abuse and neglect case, counsel will not be permitted to withdraw solely on the basis that counsel lacks a good faith belief that an appeal is reasonable and warranted under the circumstances. Good faith may at times be defined by the legal obligation of counsel to file a brief referring to any point in the record that might arguably support the appeal in instances where a client insists on appeal after being advised that the appeal is wholly frivolous. Rule 10(c)(10) sets forth the requirements that must be observed when counsel in a criminal, habeas corpus, or abuse and neglect case lacks a good faith belief that an appeal is reasonable and warranted.
  5. Admission ceremony. Prospective attorneys who are eligible for admission must appear in person before the Court at a regularly scheduled admission ceremony as required by Rule 7(b) of the Rules for Admission to the Practice of Law. Upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances (e.g. military service) set forth in writing to the Clerk, the Court may permit a prospective attorney—who is eligible for admission to practice but is unable to attend a regularly scheduled admission ceremony—to appear for admission at such time and manner as the Court may decide.  Admission ceremonies may be set by the Court on any day the Court is in session, or on such other day during the term as the Court may provide.

Unrepresented parties
  1. Unrepresented parties.  A party who elects to proceed without counsel must comply with the Rules of Appellate Procedure to the fullest extent possible.  While the submission of handwritten papers is not encouraged, unrepresented parties may serve and file handwritten documents, which should be neatly prepared in cursive script or hand printing in ink. Pages of handwritten documents must be numbered consecutively in the center of the bottom margin of each page. If illegible or unreasonably long, handwritten documents may be rejected for filing by the Clerk.
  2. Pro se appearance by a represented party. A party to an action before this Court who is represented by counsel may not file any pro se documents in that action with the Court or make an oral argument in that action before the Court, unless specifically permitted to do so by order.