The first two levels of the Virginia civil court system are General District Courts (GDC) and Circuit Courts. The type of claim, and amount of money at issue determines which court your matter will be heard in.
GDC generally hears cases involving landlord-tenant issues, actions to recover personal property, and other civil matters that do not exceed $25,000. Circuit Court generally will hear more complex cases that involve higher dollar amounts or equitable relief such as an injunction. The GDC does not have juries, while the Circuit Court does. There are certain exceptions such as unlawful detainers or personal injury cases that allow GDC to hear cases involving amounts over $25,000.
Once a case is determined to fall within the jurisdiction (purview) of the GDC or Circuit Court, there are certain procedures for each court. The key differences are highlighted below:
Both GDC and Circuit Court have concurrent jurisdiction for claims between $4,500 and $25,000 (or up to $50,000 for personal injury and wrongful death).
Jurisdiction between Circuit Court and GDC is very complex and varies depending upon the type of claim. A full list of jurisdictional requirements for Circuit Court can be found in Virginia Code § 17.1-513. The jurisdictional requirements for GDC are found in Virginia Code § 16.1-77.
Do you have a potential civil matter that needs to go to court? If so, we are here to help! Our attorneys handle litigation in the following areas:
Whether you are an individual or looking for litigation assistance for your business, our team will help you file in the correct place, and advocate for your best resolution. Give us a call today!
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I definitely could have created my new business, Davis Wealth Management LLC, but boy that would have been a mistake. Because business formation is not an area in which I practice, I had no idea where my blind spots were, and let me tell you there were plenty. The knowledge I received from the firm is invaluable.
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