Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Virginia Resources

This State Guide lists the major sources of law Virginia.

Executive Branch Structure

Administrative law consists of the regulations and decisions made by government agencies and other entities which fall under the executive branch (the Governor's office) of the Commonwealth. These agencies, boards, and commissions are empowered by the General Assembly to implement and enforce state law through the promulgation of rules and regulations. Article V of the Constitution of Virginia grants and describes the responsibilities and powers of the executive branch.

The Executive Branch consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and the Boards and Departments that serve them. The Secretary of Commonwealth offers an Organization of State Government chart.

  • Office of the Governor: The Governor has the chief executive power of the Commonwealth. His responsibilities include making sure the laws are faithfully executed, acting as chief of the armed forces, and interacting with other states and foreign entities. The Governor cannot serve more than one consecutive term of office (he/she may "skip" one or more terms).
  • Office of the Lieutenant Governor: The official responsibilities of Virginia's Lieutenant Governor are to preside over the state Senate, but casting a vote only in the event of a tie. And in the case of removal of the Governor from office or in case of his disqualification, death, or resignation, the Lieutenant Governor shall be Governor. The Lieutenant Governor has no term limits.
  • Office of the Attorney General: The Attorney General renders official written advisory opinions on issues of Virginia law when formally requested by the Governor, a member of the General Assembly, a state court judge, the State Corporation Commission, a Commonwealth's Attorney or county attorney, or other designated government officer.
  • The Governor's Cabinet: The Secretaries of the Commonwealth are responsible for providing overall supervision and direction to the agencies which report to them. By law they also have the power to resolve conflicts between their agencies, direct preparation of their budgets, and hold agency heads accountable for effective and efficient performance.
  • All Virginia Agencies

Executive Orders & Attorney General Opinions

Executive Orders

An Executive Order is a law executed by the the Governor of Virginia. The Governor usually issues an Executive Order to accomplish a specific purpose. Virginia's Executive Orders web site contains information on the current Governor's Executive Orders, as well as selected Orders of past Governors, and a list of all Executive Orders still in effect.

Opinions of the Attorney General

The Attorney General renders official written advisory opinions on issues of Virginia law when formally requested by the Governor, a member of the General Assembly, a state court judge, the State Corporation Commission, a Commonwealth's Attorney or county attorney, or other designated government officer. The opinions are compiled in The Annual Report of the Attorney General of Virginia and Opinions Of The Attorney General And Report To The Governor Of Virginia. In print, each report contains a name index, subject index, and indexes to the statutory and Constitutional provisions cited for the print volume. Cumulative ten-year indexes to the Annual Report up to 1987 are also available in print.