Court of Appeals; expands jurisdiction, increases from 11 to 17 number of judges on Court. (SB1261)

Introduced By

Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) with support from co-patrons Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), and Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Court of Appeals; jurisdiction; number of judges. Expands the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals of Virginia by providing for an appeal of right in every civil case and provides that the granting of further appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia shall be within the discretion of the Supreme Court. The bill provides for an appeal of right in criminal cases by a defendant, but leaves unchanged the current requirement that in criminal cases the Commonwealth must petition the Court of Appeals for granting of an appeal. The bill increases from 11 to 17 the number of judges on the Court of Appeals. The bill also (i) provides jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over interlocutory appeals and petitions for review of injunctions; (ii) allows for oral arguments to be dispensed with if the panel of judges makes a unanimous decision that the appeal is wholly without merit or that the dispositive issues on appeal have already been authoritatively decided and the appellant has not argued that the case law should be overturned, extended, or reversed; (iii) provides that the Attorney General shall represent the Commonwealth in criminal appeals unless, and with the consent of the Attorney General, the attorney for the Commonwealth who prosecuted the case files a notice of appearance; (iv) eliminates the requirement for an appeal bond in criminal appeals; (v) requires all criminal cases in a court of record to be recorded and requires the clerk of the circuit court to prepare a transcript of any trial for which an appeal is noticed to him; and (vi) requires an expedited review of appeals of permanent protective orders and of bond validation proceedings. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2022, which is applicable to all provisions of the bill except for those increasing the number of judges on the Court of Appeals. Read the Bill »


03/31/2021: signed by governor


01/12/2021Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/21 21101357D
01/12/2021Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
01/25/2021Senate committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
01/25/2021Reported from Judiciary with substitute (8-Y 6-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
01/25/2021Committee substitute printed 21103599D-S1
01/25/2021Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations
02/02/2021Reported from Finance and Appropriations with amendment (11-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
02/02/2021Impact statement from DPB (SB1261S1)
02/03/2021Constitutional reading dispensed (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2021Read second time
02/04/2021Reading of substitute waived
02/04/2021Committee substitute agreed to 21103599D-S1
02/04/2021Reading of amendment waived
02/04/2021Committee amendment agreed to
02/04/2021Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute with amendment SB1261ES1
02/04/2021Printed as engrossed 21103599D-ES1
02/05/2021Read third time and passed Senate (21-Y 18-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2021Placed on Calendar
02/07/2021Read first time
02/07/2021Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/08/2021Continued to Special Session 1 in Courts of Justice
02/10/2021Impact statement from DPB (SB1261ES1)
02/20/2021House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/20/2021Reported from Courts of Justice with amendment(s) (13-Y 9-N)
02/20/2021Referred to Committee on Appropriations
02/21/2021Assigned App. sub: Transportation & Public Safety
02/22/2021Subcommittee recommends reporting (5-Y 2-N)
02/22/2021Reported from Appropriations (11-Y 9-N)
02/23/2021Read second time
02/24/2021Passed by for the day
02/25/2021Read third time
02/25/2021Committee on Courts of Justice amendments rejected
02/25/2021Committee on Courts of Justice amendments reconsidered
02/25/2021Committee on Courts of Justice amendments agreed to
02/25/2021Amendment by Delegate Mullin agreed to
02/25/2021Engrossed by House as amended
02/25/2021Passed House with amendments (54-Y 45-N)
02/25/2021VOTE: Passage (54-Y 45-N)
02/25/2021House amendments rejected by Senate (17-Y 21-N)
02/25/2021House insisted on amendments
02/25/2021House requested conference committee
02/25/2021Senate acceded to request (28-Y 10-N)
02/25/2021Conferees appointed by Senate
02/25/2021Senators: Edwards, Surovell, Deeds
02/25/2021Conferees appointed by House
02/25/2021Delegates: Herring, Mullin, Knight
02/27/2021C Amended by conference committee
02/27/2021Conference report agreed to by Senate (20-Y 17-N)
02/27/2021Conference report agreed to by House (54-Y 42-N)
02/27/2021VOTE: Agreed To (54-Y 42-N)
03/09/2021Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB1261ER)
03/09/2021Signed by President
03/10/2021Impact statement from DPB (SB1261ER)
03/11/2021Signed by Speaker
03/15/2021Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 15, 2021
03/15/2021G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., March 31, 2021
03/31/2021G Approved by Governor-Chapter 489 (effective - see bill)
03/31/2021G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0489)