The Circuit Court of Fauquier County is dedicated to a fair and impartial administration of the Judicial System as a Court of Record in Fauquier County, Virginia.
Judges of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit
- Stephen E. Sincavage
- Jeanette A. Irby
- Douglas L. Fleming, Jr.
- James P. Fisher
- James E. Plowman -Presiding Judge
The Circuit Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction in Virginia; this means that the Court has authority to try a full range of cases both criminal and civil.
In civil cases the Circuit Court has jurisdiction in claims for money, such as personal injury cases and unpaid debts. These cases are called actions at law. The Circuit Court also has jurisdiction over all equity matters, including divorce cases, disputes concerning wills and estates, and controversies involving property.
In criminal cases, the Circuit Court has jurisdiction over the trial of all felonies (offenses that may be punished by commitment to the State penitentiary) and some misdemeanors.
The Circuit Court has appellate jurisdiction over all appeals from the General District Court in civil and criminal cases and from juvenile and domestic relations court in domestic and criminal cases.
The Circuit Court has the authority to impanel grand juries. Regular grand juries are convened at each term of court to consider indictments prepared by the Commonwealth's Attorney to determine whether there is probable cause that the person accused has committed the crime charged in the indictment and should stand trial.
The Circuit Court also has the authority to make appointments to certain county boards and to appoint church trustees.
Neutral Case Evaluation (NCE)
The Circuit Court offers a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution called Neutral Case Evaluation (NCE), where certain civil actions are diverted into the program by either a court order or agreement of the parties and counsel. About 30 to 60 days before trial, a settlement conference is scheduled with a specially trained ‘senior’ attorney (volunteer), who assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s legal arguments, identifies the areas of agreement, renders a non-binding advisory opinion on the issues in the case, and acts to facilitate a settlement between the parties. It is a pro bono service provided by the Court.
The Clerk of Circuit Court requires counsel and parties to fill out an NCE Intake Form (either domestic or civil/non-domestic) when the case is set for trial, however the lawsuit can be diverted into the program by request also. NCE is appropriate for various civil actions, including personal injury suits, property and contract disputes, and family law matters. It minimizes costs, provides an early resolution for the parties, conserves court time and judicial resources, while providing a private forum for creative resolution of the problem. NCE does NOT handle pro se cases.
If you would like more information about NCE, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org