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Virginia Legal Research

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

The Constitution & Statutory Law

The Virginia constitution, first adopted in 1776, was most recently revised and ratified in 1970 (eff. 7/1/71). The current version can be found in volume 1 of the Code of Virginia (Reference and Stacks KFV2430 1950 .A4), and online. A recommended source of information on the Virginia Constitution is Commentaries on the Constitution of Virginia (KFV2801 1970.A6 H68).  This two-volume set provides a comprehensive history of the current constitution together with discussion of its application and interpretation.  In addition, John Dinan’s Virginia State Constitution: A Reference Guide (KFV2801 1970.A6 D56 2006) might prove to be a useful tool for researchers.

The Code of Virginia 1950 Annotated (Reference and Stacks KFV2430 1950 .A4):  this multi-volume set includes all laws passed by the General Assembly that are currently in effect. Also included are annotations of cases, brief explanations of the legislative history of the original statute and its amendments, and references to relevant law review articles. Annual pocket parts and The Advance Code Service supplement the set.  An unannotated version of the current code is available on the Internet. 

The Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia (3rd Floor Media Center) contain the official language of all Virginia session laws. The acts are assigned consecutive chapter numbers based on their chronological order of passage. Individual session laws going back to the 2002 Session are available on the Virginia Legislative Information System.

Many of the historical collections of Virginia acts and session laws are available on HeinOnline in their Session Laws Library and their State Statutes: A Historical Archive library.

Judge Kathryn J. DuFour Law Library / 3600 John McCormack Road N.E., Washington, DC 20064 / 202-319-5155