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Virginia Legal Research

A short guide to researching the law of Virginia using the resources of the Kathryn J. DuFour Law Library

Case Law

The Virginia judicial system consists of the Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals, 120 circuit courts in thirty-one judicial circuits, general district and juvenile and domestic relations district courts in thirty-two districts, and magistrates in offices in thirty-two districts.  Reported decisions of Virginia courts are collected in the following publications:
  • Virginia Reports (KFV2445 A2) 1790-present: The official publication for decisions of the Supreme Court of Virginia. Note that the first 74 volumes are often cited using the nominative reporter title (e.g. Gratt, Rob, Leigh, etc.). 
  • Virginia Court of Appeals Reports (KFV2448 A2) 1985-present: The official reporter for published decisions of the Virginia Court of Appeals. 
  • South Eastern Reporter (4th floor) 1887-present: An unofficial reporter for Virginia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases (also included are cases from the state courts of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia). 
Many of the individual nominative reports together with the Virginia Reports, Virginia Decisions, and some early colonial reports are available on HeinOnline and the LLMC Digital database.  Recent (’95- ) decisions from the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals (including unpublished opinions) are available on the Internet.  
Judge Kathryn J. DuFour Law Library / 3600 John McCormack Road N.E., Washington, DC 20064 / 202-319-5155