New laws affecting the courts enacted by the Virginia legislature in 2011 include the following:
HB 1534 Provides that claims, counter-claims, and cross-claims filed in actions for unlawful entry or detainer are not subject to the maximum jurisdictional limit of $15,000 applicable in general district court regardless of the purpose for which the occupant is using the premises
HB 1565 / SB 1274 Provides that restrictions on the secure remote access to court records do not apply to secure access by attorneys in good standing with the Virginia State Bar and their authorized agents and attorneys admitted to practice pro hac vice. Permits secure remote access by governmental agencies authorized by the clerk.
HB 1590 / SB 774 Increases from $15,000 to $25,000 the maximum civil jurisdictional limit of general district courts.
HB 1691 / SB 1063 ORIGINAL: Allows the establishment of servicemembers and veterans courts as specialized court dockets within the existing structure of Virginia’s court system. AS ENACTED: Provides for the program established by the Department of Veterans Services to monitor and coordinate mental health and rehabilitative services support for Virginia veterans to cooperate with localities that may establish special treatment procedures for veterans and active military servicemembers in the criminal justice system. Provides that to facilitate local involvement and flexibility in responding to the problem of crime in local communities and to effectively treat, counsel, rehabilitate, and supervise veterans and active military servicemembers who are offenders or defendants in the criminal justice system that any city, county, or combination thereof may develop, establish, and maintain policies, procedures, and treatment services for all such offenders who are convicted and sentenced for misdemeanors or felonies that are not felony acts of violence.
HB 1973 Provides that the person responsible for taking attendance when the potential jurors are assembled, and not the clerk, is responsible for verifying the identities of the jurors. Allows clerks to transmit or make available electronically to the Director of the Department of Corrections copies of the order of trial and final order for persons sentenced to the Department. Provides that if a power of attorney that has been recorded is revoked, a clerk may require that the revocation of a power of attorney be prepared as a separate instrument which shall be recorded and indexed by the clerk.
HB 2483 Provides that restrictions to secure remote access of court records do not apply to secure access by counsel or staff directly supervised by counsel.
SB 902 Permits retired justices or judges to appear as counsel in cases in courts of the Commonwealth if (i) the retired justice or judge has been retired for at least two years and is not authorized for temporary recall by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, (ii) the retired justice or judge is appearing as counsel, pro bono, for an indigent person in a civil matter, (iii) such civil matter is assigned or referred to the retired justice or judge by a nonprofit legal aid program organized under the auspices of the Virginia State Bar, and (iv) the retired justice or judge is not an employee, officer, or board member of such nonprofit legal aid program.
SB 1369 Clarifies that clerks may provide official certificates and certified records in digital form of any document maintained by the clerk. Confirms the clerks’ authority to perform notarial acts. Makes various changes to clerks’ duties regarding electronic filing.