Civil Division

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday-Friday, 8 A.M. - 4 P.M. (Phones close at 3:30 P.M.)

4110 Chain Bridge Road, Room 211
Fairfax, VA 22030

Laura Litz,
Division Manager

Continuances, Dismissals, and Non-Suits

Continuances, dismissals, and non-suits can be requested by praecipe or by using the form Request for Court Action – Civil/Small Claims Division, which enables the plaintiff in a case to request a continuance, nonsuit or dismissal on a case coming into court. The defendant in a case can also use this form to request a continuance of an upcoming case.

Continuances

All continuance requests must be submitted in writing and the continuance date must be an available court date. Available court dates for trial are posted in the docket review room in the clerk's office and in the civil courtrooms each morning before court. Continuance requests should be made as far in advance of the scheduled hearing as is practicable.

If the request is an agreed first continuance from the regular or trial docket, and is received at least 4 business days in advance of the court date, then the request will be sent to chambers for the case to be continued to the agreed date, pending availability of the chosen date. Second or subsequent continuance requests, agreed to by all parties and received at least four business days before the court date, will be forwarded to chambers to be approved or denied before court. The decision whether to continue a case lies within the discretion of the court. If the request is denied, the case will remain on the docket on its originally scheduled date.

If the agreed continuance request is not received at least 4 business days in advance of the court date, then the request is sent with the case into court on the upcoming court date. On that court date, the judge will approve or deny the request per the guidelines set forth in the previous paragraph.

Continuance requests for cases set on the Long Trial Docket, agreed or opposed, must be made by personal appearance in open court, after written motion, with at least five days' notice to the court and all parties and/or counsel of record.

Continuances requested without agreement of all parties may be granted only by a judge for good cause shown. Contested continuance requests must be made by personal appearance in open court, after written motion, with at least 5 days' notice to the court and all parties and/or counsel of record. Continuance requests that are not agreed to or noticed for a hearing will be sent with the case into court on the upcoming court date and the judge will approve or deny the request at that time. If the judge determines that there is no good cause for the continuance, the case will be heard on ts originally scheduled date even if all parties are not present.

Small Claims trials are heard on the initial return date. Prior to the initial court date, a continuance may be granted if the new date is available and agreed to by all parties. Continuances requested without agreement of all parties may be granted only by a judge for good cause shown.

Dismissals and Non-Suits

Requests for dismissal or non-suit of a pending case can be submitted by using the Request for Court Action – Civil/Small Claims Division form, plaintiff's praecipe, endorsed order, or sufficient proof of the consent of all parties.

The plaintiff is able to request a non-suit or dismissal of a case coming into court as long as notice is provided to the defendant and there is no counter-claim pending. If the request is received at least 4 days prior to court either on the Request for Court Action form or in the form of an order, then the case will be removed from the court's docket; otherwise the request will go into court with the case on the court date.

Notice of a second or subsequent non-suit of a case requires a motion with notice to the defendant. The notice must include the date and location of any prior non-suits.

It is the responsibility of the party requesting the court action to send notice to the other party.

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