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Virginia Research Guide

Introduction

This research guide was created to facilitate your research of the laws of Virginia. The law making process, sources of statutory law, rules and regulations are outlined. Links are also provided to resources for finding case law, court opinions, and secondary sources.

Sources cited are the print and electronic resources available in the Mason Law Library. It is useful to begin your search in the library's catalog, the gateway to our collections, as well as those of the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC). Call number links have been included to titles to facilitate your access.

If you have further questions, please email lawlibraryhelp@udc.edu, and our team of helpful librarians will be happy to assist you.

Virginia Basic Facts

Virginia was one of the 13 original colonies, with settlement established by the English as early as 1607 along the James River. Virginia declared independence from Great Britain in 1775, becoming The Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia Colony became a state on June 25, 1788.

Richmond became the state capital in 1779, after relocation from Jamestown. Prior to Jamestown, Williamsburg was the first capital, until 1705. Governor Ralph Northam is the current governor of Virginia. There are ninety-five counties and thirty-eight independent cities in Virginia. Below are useful links for researching the executive, legislative and judicial branches. 

  • Executive: Provides links to the Governor's Executive Council (Cabinet), Sub-Cabinets and Cabinet Councils, and the Governor's Coordinating Offices. There are also resources for researching Virginia agencies and departments, counties, and municipalities.
  • Legislative: This link provides information on agencies, bills, budge, committees, hearing schedule, sessions, and the legislative process. The Virginia Legislative Information System allows for searching of Bills and Resolutions, Bill Summaries, House and Senate Minutes, Standing Committees, Daily Floor Calendars, and Session Statistics.
  • Who's My Legislator? - Useful interactive map to locate Virginia state delegate and state senator, and U.S. Congress member and U.S. Senator.
  • Judicial: Useful for accessing the Court of Special Appeals, Circuit Courts and District Court of Virginia.