West Virginia Circuit Courts
The West Virginia Circuit Court is a court in West Virginia that has 55 counties that are divided into 31 circuits with 66 circuit judges.
West Virginia’s circuit courts are the only general jurisdiction trial courts of record. These circuit courts have total jurisdiction over all civil cases at law over $300; all civil cases in equity; proceedings in habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, prohibition, and certiorari; and all felonies and misdemeanors. West Virginia circuit courts receive appeals from magistrate court, municipal court, and administrative agencies, excluding workers’ compensation appeals. The circuit courts will also hear appeals of family court decisions unless both parties agree to appeal directly to the Supreme Court of Appeals. The circuit courts also receive recommended orders from judicial officers who hear mental hygiene and juvenile matters. The Supreme Court of Appeals receives appeals of circuit court decisions.
West Virginia circuit courts range in size from one with seven judges to eleven with one judge. However, as few as one or as many as four counties comprise a circuit, with each county having a courthouse where the circuit judge presides.
West Virginia circuit court judges are elected in partisan elections to eight-year terms and they must have practiced law for at least five years. The governor appoints circuit judges to fill vacancies. However, an appointee who wishes to remain in office must run in the next election.