Setting/Removing Civil Trials

Cases are set for trial in Prince William County either by placing the matter on one of the Court’s regularly scheduled Civil Term Day dockets and sending a notice to the opposing parties or by selecting a date available with the Court by agreement of all parties.  You may obtain a trial date for a civil case by placing it on the Term Day docket or if agreed by the parties by placing a call to Judges' Chambers 703-792-6010.
 
Term Day Procedures
 
Prince William County holds Civil Term Day on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of each month at 2 p.m. To place a case on the Civil Term Day Docket, a Civil Term Day Praecipe must be filed with the Court (and all parties must be properly noticed) by 5 p.m. the Wednesday preceding the Term Day. Forms are available in Room 314 and online.  At Term Day, counsel must be prepared to inform the Court of the anticipated number of days for trial and whether a jury is requested. When setting cases for Term Day, counsel is certifying that all discovery has been completed or will be complete prior to the trial date. In divorce cases that require a Commissioner, the Commissioner’s Report must be on file before obtaining a trial date.
 
Setting a Case For Trial
 
If all parties agree, counsel may obtain trial dates without attending Civil Term Day, by calling Judge’s Chambers (703-792-6010) at any time prior to the week preceding the term day. Calls must be made by counsel only, and not by secretaries and law clerks. Both attorneys or parties must be on the telephone line or the person placing the call must have the good dates and agreement of the other parties to select a trial date. The trial date must then be confirmed by letter from one of the lawyers to all counsel of record, pro se litigants, and the Court. 
 
If the parties to an action are both pro se (without counsel), trial dates must be set either on a Term Day or on a Motions Day, and both parties must attend that hearing. Counsel is encouraged to schedule a trial date in a timely fashion. It is expected that trial dates will be set within one year of the filing date.
 
Continuances of trial dates are discouraged. Continuances cannot be accomplished solely by agreement of counsel. Counsel must seek the court’s permission to grant a continuance. If permission for a continuance is granted, an agreed order granting the continuance should be submitted for the judge’s signature.
 
Prince William County practice with regard to Pre-trial Scheduling Orders is in accordance with Part 1 of the Virginia Rules. The entry of Scheduling Orders is encouraged in order to facilitate mutual agreement and understanding concerning timeframes and the orderly progression of cases. Counsel may submit consent
orders concerning scheduling matters or request the Court to enter a scheduling order by motion.
 
Checking the Daily Docket
A Daily Docket is a list of all cases and actions scheduled to be heard in court on a particular day.
 
Go to the Court Case Information System.  Select “Prince William County Circuit."  Click “Begin." Select Division: “Civil."  You can search by “Name” “Case Number” (don’t forget capital “CL”) or “Hearing Date” (click on calendar to change date).
 
If you click on “Search by Hearing Date” and then click on a specific case number, you’ll get the main page (“Case Details”) that at the bottom has “Hearings."  The “Room” is the courtroom number in which the case will be heard.
 
To return to the list of cases on the chosen “Hearing Date,” click on “Hearing List” at the top of the page.
Also, “Pleadings/Orders” and "Services" at top of page can give you more information about the case.
 
Confirmation of Trial
Counsel will receive a call from Judges’ Chambers the week before trial requesting an estimate of the time necessary for trial and confirming that a jury, if one was previously requested, is still required. The day before trial, Counsel will receive a second call asking for confirmation of the time estimate. It is essential that Counsel promptly return calls from Chambers for time estimates. The number reserved for this purpose is 703-792-6013. (This is not a general number for use in calling Chambers, but rather reserved for time estimates and the like for
upcoming trials.) Counsel who know they will be unavailable on the day prior to trial should arrange for staff to provide time estimate information to Chambers.
 
Cases are assigned to judges on the afternoon preceding the trial based on availability and counsel’s time estimates. Make every effort to provide an accurate time estimate. Failure to provide an accurate time estimate can severely disrupt the court’s schedule. If Chambers does not know the time estimate and the docket is full, the Judge may assign the case as a hold case that will be heard as soon as a Judge has completed his/her assigned docket.
 
Settlement:
Counsel are encouraged to conduct settlement negotiations in advance of the trial date. Judges may assist in settlement discussion if requested and some will invite discussions on their own either immediately prior to trial or during trial.
 
When a case settles in advance of trial, it is both parties’ responsibility to inform Chambers at 703-792-6010 and all witnesses as soon as possible thereafter. Revised time estimates should be called in to this number703-792-6010 in event of a partial settlement or complete settlement when counsel wishes to appear solely to make a record of settlement agreement.

Removing a Case from the Docket
The Clerk’s Office cannot remove a case from the docket unless it is agreed to by both parties. To remove a case or continue a case, the attorneys/pro se parties must call Judges’ Chambers 703-792-6010.  Only a Judge can continue a Show Cause.
 
If your case is on the hold docket, in lieu of waiting in the hallway for the case to perhaps be called, counsel can agree to set the matter over for a new data certain. See the person at the desk outside of Chambers to obtain a new date.
 
To reschedule a hearing or trial that has been continued to a date certain, you must follow the same procedure available when the hearing/trial was set.
 
If you cannot come to court when scheduled/summoned
If you are a witness, contact the attorney/pro se party that summoned you.
If you are a party to the case, please contact your attorney.  If you are a pro se party, notify the Clerk’s Office or circuitcourt@pwcgov.org.
If there is an emergency on the day of court and you cannot appear, call 703-792-6010.
 
 
Please notify the Circuit Court Clerk's Office by email if you find that any of the links on this page do not work.