The Supreme Court of Virginia now will release opinions when they are ready, without waiting for the court’s official sessions, according to an announcement on the court’s website.
The court will no longer hold opinions for release during a session of court following oral argument, the announcement said.
“Instead, opinions will be released when deemed ready by the Justices and will typically be issued and posted on the Court’s website on a Thursday,” the court said.
The change is effective immediately.
The court holds six sessions a year and a batch of opinions is routinely handed down at the end of the last day of argument of each session. From the bench, the justices take turns announcing the outcome of the appeals and then hand the printed opinions to the clerk.
Besides ending that ceremony, the change will mean lawyers and their clients will not know when to expect the court’s rulings.
The court’s seven-week schedule meant attorneys who argued a case in September generally could expect the outcome in early November. Some cases took longer, others were handled more quickly through unpublished orders. Most, however, were decided on a predictable schedule.
“This change will improve efficiency, and with regard to cases that had previously been carried over from one session to the next, it will allow for the opinion to be released earlier than in the past,” said a court spokesperson Monday.
Updated Sept. 14 to add comment from the court.