The Official Website of the State of West Virginia


Supreme Court of Appeals

The judiciary is one of three coequal branches of state government, each with separate powers. The legislative branch makes the law. The executive branch enforces the law. The judicial branch interprets and applies the law in cases brought before the courts. West Virginia became a state on June 20, 1863. The present West Virginia Constitution was ratified in 1872. In 1880, the West Virginia Legislature rewrote the entire judicial article, which the voters adopted. The most important event in the history of the West Virginia judiciary occurred on November 5, 1974, when the voters ratified the Judicial Reorganization Amendment, which became effective on January 1, 1976. This amendment ended the justice of the peace system and established a unified court system, uniting all state courts, except municipal courts, into a single system supervised and administered by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The amendment organized the judiciary into three levels: the Supreme Court of Appeals, circuit courts, and magistrate courts. In November 2000, the voters passed a constitutional amendment to allow the Legislature to create separate family courts. The new family courts went into effect on January 1, 2002.

State Capitol, Room E-300
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, WV 25305
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Phone: (304) 558-2601
Toll Free: NONE
Fax: (304) 558-1212