West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



On October 20, 1959, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia entered an order which will bring about a comprehensive reform of civil procedure in the circuit courts' of the state and in inferior courts of record which have civil jurisdiction. Rule 1. (For convenience, most citations to the new Rules and Forms are carried in the body of the text in italics rather than in footnotes.) The order promulgates a new system of pleading and practice known as the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure for Trial Courts of Record. Rule 85. The effective date will be July 1, 1960. Rule 86. The new Rules are an exercise of the rule-making power which the Supreme Court of Appeals has previously exercised from time to time: the most familiar example is the Rules of Practice for Trial Courts, some of which will be superseded by the new Rules. The primary purpose of this article is to assist the lawyers and judges of West Virginia in making the transition to the new system of procedure from the present system of common law pleading with modifications. The article should also be of assistance to law students, circuit clerks, and other persons who will work with the new Rules. It is assumed that the reader has a copy of the text of the new Rules together with the Reporters' Notes appended to each Rule. Hence quotation and paraphrase will be avoided as much as possible. It is useful to know something of the historical development leading up to the enactment of the new West Virginia Rules. They are directly modelled upon the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for District Courts, which took effect in 1938. The Federal Rules in turn had been developed from the code pleading of the more progressive states, from the Federal Equity Rules of 1912, and from the modem British procedure. In West Virginia the modem movement for procedural reform began as early as 1928. In more recent years the West Virginia State [Integrated] Bar, created in 1948, has led the movement, with the strong support and cooperation of the West Virginia Bar Association,9 the West Virginia Judicial Association, the Attorney General, and numerous individual lawyers and judges.


Although the first page of this issue lists it as being published in December 1959, the uploaded believes this date is in error and the issue was not published until February 1960. Thus, it is listed with a February 1960 date.


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