The Rules of Civil Procedure for the Magistrate Courts of West Virginia were promulgated by the Supreme Court on June 22, 1988. This Handbook provides guidance on how those rules should be applied. In addition, this Handbook provides guidance on how to apply legislative procedural statutes that are applicable to magistrate courts. It must be emphasized that this Handbook is only a reference tool, it does not purport to be the “law.”
The magistrate court system replaced the justice of the peace courts, pursuant to Article VIII, § 15 of the state constitution, on January 1, 1977. During the long period in which the justice of the peace court system was in place, a rich body of case law was created. Whenever possible this Handbook references to case law decided for justice of the peace courts, as illustrative on how specific issues should be handled by magistrates. In addition, the Handbook provides case law guidance on issues decided under the rules of civil procedure for circuit courts.
This Handbook is intended to be user-friendly. In doing so, the material in this Handbook has been arranged under each Rule that is set out in the Rules of Civil Procedure for the Magistrate Courts. To the extent that the Handbook covers procedural matters only found in statutes and other administrative rules promulgated by the Supreme Court, such matters have been set out near closely related Rules.
Justice Robin Jean Davis was engaged in the private practice of law in the state of West Virginia from 1982 until 1996. In 1996, she was elected as a Justice to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to fill an unexpired term. She was re-elected in November 2000. Justice Davis served as Chief Justice in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2010. Justice Davis is the author of several West Virginia Law Review articles, including: "A Tribute to Franklin D. Cleckley: A Compendium of Essential Legal Principles from His Opinions as a Justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals"; "A Tribute to Thomas E. McHugh: An Encyclopedia of Legal Principles from Opinions Written by Justice McHugh"; "An Analysis of the Development of Admitting Expert Testimony in Federal Courts and the Impact of That Development on West Virginia Jurisprudence"; and is the co-author with Louis J. Palmer, Jr. of "Workers' Compensation Litigation in West Virginia: Assessing the Impact of the Rule of Liberality and the Need for Fiscal Reform." In addition, Justice Davis is the co-author with Franklin D. Cleckley and Louis J. Palmer, Jr. of Litigation Handbook on West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure (3d ed. 2008).
Louis J. Palmer, Jr. has been a staff attorney on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals since 1996. He has authored several books that include: Encyclopedia of Abortion in the United States (2d ed. 2008); Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment in the United States (2d ed. 2008); Racism in America: A Guide to Understanding Discrimination (2006); and Encyclopedia of DNA and the United States Criminal Justice System (2004). In addition, Mr. Palmer is the co-author with Franklin D. Cleckley and Robin Jean Davis of Litigation Handbook on West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure (3d ed. 2008).