Email: Chapter 4, Article 12
§4-12-1. Authority of Legislature to establish West Virginia law institute.
The West Virginia Legislature creates and establishes a state law institute, to be known as the "West Virginia Law Institute," as an official advisory law revision and law reform agency of the State of West Virginia and to be located at the West Virginia University college of law.
§4-12-2. Purposes and duties.
The general purposes of the West Virginia law institute are to promote and encourage the clarification and simplification of the law of West Virginia, to improve the better administration of justice and to conduct scholarly legal research and scientific legal work. To that end it shall be the duty of the West Virginia law institute to:
(a) Consider needed improvements in both substantive and procedural law and to make recommendations concerning the same to the Legislature;
(b) Examine and study the law of West Virginia to discover defects and inequities and of recommending needed reforms;
(c) Receive and consider suggestions from judges, justices, public officials, lawyers and the public generally as to defects and anachronisms in the law;
(d) Recommend from time to time such changes in the law as it deems necessary to modify or eliminate antiquated and inequitable rules of law;
(e) Render annual reports to the Legislature and, if it deems so advisable, accompany its reports with proposed bills to carry out any of its recommendations;
(f) Recommend the repeal of obsolete statutes and suggest needed amendments, additions and deletions; and
(g) Organize and conduct an annual meeting within the state for scholarly discussions of current problems in West Virginia law, bringing together representatives of the Legislature, practicing attorneys, members of the judiciary and West Virginia State Bar and representatives of the law teaching profession.
§4-12-3. Governing council and members.
(a) The institute shall have such members and committees as the governing body of the West Virginia law institute may direct. The governing body shall also elect a president, secretary and any other officers as it determines necessary.
(b) The governing body of the institute shall be a council composed of ex officio members and elected members as follows:
(1) One justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to be selected by the justices thereof;
(2) One circuit court judge, selected by the West Virginia judicial association;
(3) One federal judge residing in West Virginia, selected by the federal judges residing in West Virginia;
(4) The Attorney General of the State of West Virginia;
(5) One legal counsel to the Governor of the State of West Virginia;
(6) The chairperson of the judiciary committees of the Senate and the House of Delegates of the West Virginia Legislature or an attorney member of the respective committees appointed by the chairperson of the committee;
(7) One member each from the majority and minority parties of the Senate and the House of Delegates of the West Virginia Legislature to be selected by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates, respectively;
(8) The director of West Virginia Legislative Services;
(9) The chairperson of the West Virginia commission on uniform state laws;
(10) The president and first vice president of the West Virginia State Bar;
(11) The chairperson of the young lawyers section of the West Virginia State Bar;
(12) The dean of the West Virginia University college of law;
(13) Two attorneys appointed by the Governor of the State of West Virginia for terms to run concurrently with the term of the Governor;
(14) The director of the continuing legal education program sponsored by the West Virginia State Bar and the West Virginia University college of law; and
(15) The editor-in-chief of the West Virginia law review.
(c) The elected membership shall consist of two faculty members who shall be elected from the members of the faculty of the West Virginia University college of law and four practicing attorneys from each of the congressional districts in the state who shall be selected by the board of Governors of the West Virginia State Bar.
(d) All ex officio members of the council shall hold their positions during their respective terms of office. The term of office of the elected members of the council shall be four years. The terms of office of the first elected practicing attorney members shall be appointed by the board of Governors of the West Virginia State Bar such that four shall be appointed for two years, four for three years and four for four years. Thereafter, appointments shall be for four years. Elected members of the council shall be eligible for reelection.
(e) Vacancies in the elected membership created by death, resignation or otherwise than by the expiration of the terms of office shall be filled by the council under such rules as it may adopt.
§4-12-4. Compensation of members of the council of the West Virginia law institute, director and assistants.
The members of the council of the West Virginia law institute shall serve without any compensation for services as such. The council may employ and fix and pay reasonable compensation to the director of the institute and the director's assistants, and may pay honoraria to members of the council who perform professional services for the institute, as authorized by the council. The compensation provided for in this section shall come from private funding and no state funds are to be provided for this institute.
§4-12-5. Adoption of membership plan.
The council of the West Virginia law institute shall adopt a plan or plans of membership in the West Virginia law institute so designated as to encourage and invite the cooperation of all members of the legal profession in the work of the institute.
§4-12-6. Institute to act in advisory capacity only; distribution of reports, studies, and recommended publications.
The West Virginia law institute, in submitting reports to the Legislature, shall act solely in an advisory capacity. Its reports, studies and recommended publications shall be printed and shall be distributed by the institute in a manner as directed by the council.