§ 19.2-37

Magistrates; eligibility for appointment; restrictions on activities

A. Any person who is a United States citizen and resident of the Commonwealth may be appointed to the office of magistrate under this title subject to the limitations of Chapter 28 (§ 2.2-2800 et seq.) of Title 2.2 and of this section.

B. Every person appointed as a magistrate on and after July 1, 2008, shall be required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education. A person initially appointed as a magistrate prior to July 1, 2008, who continues in office without a break in service is not required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

C. A person shall not be eligible for appointment as a magistrate under the provisions of this title: (a) if such person is a law-enforcement officer; (b) if such person or his spouse is a clerk, deputy or assistant clerk, or employee of any such clerk of a district or circuit court, provided that the Committee on District Courts may authorize a magistrate to assist in the district court clerk’s office on a part-time basis; (c) if the parent, child, spouse, or sibling of such person is a district or circuit court judge in the magisterial region where he will serve; or (d) if such person is the chief executive officer, or a member of the board of supervisors, town or city council, or other governing body for any political subdivision of the Commonwealth.

D. No magistrate shall issue any warrant or process in complaint of his spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, parent-in-law, child-in-law, brother, sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, first cousin, guardian or ward.

E. A magistrate may not engage in any other activity for financial gain during the hours that he is serving on duty as a magistrate. A magistrate may not be employed outside his duty hours without the prior written approval of the Executive Secretary.

F. No person appointed as a magistrate on or after July 1, 2008, may engage in the practice of law.

G. A magistrate who is designated as a marriage celebrant under § 20-25 may not accept a fee, a gratuity, or any other thing of value for exercise of authority as a marriage celebrant.


Code 1950, § 19.1-385; 1973, c. 545; 1975, c. 495; 1976, c. 138; 1978, cc. 463, 760; 1984, c. 41; 1985, c. 45; 1986, c. 202; 1996, c. 112; 1999, c. 267; 2004, c. 830; 2008, cc. 551, 691.


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