West Virginia Judiciary

Circuit Courts

Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction

Find Court Information by CountyCircuit courts are West Virginia’s only general jurisdiction trial courts of record. Circuit courts have jurisdiction over all civil cases at law over $7,500; all civil cases in equity; proceedings in habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, prohibition, and certiorari, all felonies, and certain misdemeanors. The circuit courts receive appeals from magistrate courts, municipal courts, and administrative agencies, excluding workers’ compensation appeals.

Circuit courts also receive recommended orders from judicial officers who hear mental hygiene and juvenile matters. Appeals from circuit court in criminal, juvenile, abuse and neglect, and domestic violence cases go to the Supreme Court of Appeals, while appeals from circuit court in civil cases go to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

 

West Virginia’s fifty-five counties are divided into thirty-one circuits with seventy-five circuit judges. As few as one or as many as four counties comprise a circuit. Each county has a courthouse where the circuit judge presides.

Circuit judges are elected in nonpartisan elections to eight-year terms. They must have practiced law for at least five years. The governor appoints circuit judges to fill vacancies. Some appointees may remain in office until the unexpired term ends while some must run for election to complete the full term, depending on how much time is left on the term at the time of appointment.

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