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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    House Document No. 14
    PUBLICATION YEAR 1977

    Document Title
    Revision of Title 8 of the Code of Virginia

    Author
    Virginia Code Commission

    Enabling Authority
    HJR 31 (Regular Session, 1972)

    Executive Summary
    The General Assembly at its Regular Session of 1972 directed the Virginia Code Commission, by House Joint Resolution No. 31, to make a study of Title 8 of the Code of Virginia and to report its findings in the form of a recodification of such title.

    T. Munford Boyd, Esquire, of the Charlottesville Bar, and a former faculty member at the University of Virginia Law School, was retained as Consultant to assist in the Revision of Title 8. Leigh B. Middleditch, Jr., Esquire, of the Charlottesville Bar, who teaches Virginia Procedure at the university of Virginia Law School, and Edward S. Graves, Esquire, of the Lynchburg Bar, who teaches the same subject at the Washington and Lee University Law School, were associated with Mr. Boyd to assist in the Revision.

    The Code Commission and its Consultants perceived their assignment as being the preparation of a modern system for the trial of civil actions in Virginia courts. While easily stated, there are certain inherent problems in approaching this goal. Early in the revision the possibility of codifying the rules of the Supreme Court was addressed and rejected; inherent in this rejection was the recognition of the dual responsibility of the judiciary and legislature in the development and maintenance of any system of civil procedure since such a system will involve both statutes and Rules of Court. It is apparent that, given the dual responsibilities of the judicial and legislative branches, cooperation and coordination between these bodies is mandatory for Virginia to maintain a modern and cohesive system of civil procedure.

    The Consultants were primarily concerned with the revision of the statutory component of that system as set forth in Title 8;however, it was understood that it was the Code Commission's desire that recommendations regarding rule changes also be addressed tot he end that the overall system be reviewed.

    The Consultants approached their task by initially surveying states that had recently revised their civil procedure. It is noted that an increasing number of states have adopted , in whole or in part, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While this trend was recognized, the Consultants proceeded under instructions from the Code Commission to advise the best procedural system conceivable without doing violence to that portion of the existing system which has proved, on the basis of experience, to be of value in Virginia.

    A continuous effort was made to obtain advice from the bench and bar. Recommendations were solicited, reviewed, and brought to the Code Commission's attention. The Consultants also contacted the Court Procedure Committees of the Virginia State Bar, State Bar Association, and Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. Liaison was effected with the Supreme Court, and a special committee of the Court met with the Consultants on several occasions. The Code Commission and the Consultants also believed it important to keep the bench and bar informed of the progress of the revision and of the proposals being considered. this has been done by the distribution of three interim reports - the first in April, 1975, the second in April, 1976, and the third in October of this year. Copies of these reports were distributed to the aforementioned Court Procedures Committees. Also, copies were made available to local bars or individual attorneys through the office of the Executive director of the Virginia State Bar.

    Additionally, the consultants have attended meetings of various Statewide legal groups to explain proposals being forwarded and to respond to questions. Appendix II lists those groups and meetings attended.

    Highlights of the revisions to Title 8 follow. This summary is not intended as a substitution for the Reviser's Notes which accompany the recommended changes.