Clerk of Circuit Court

The Clerk of the Circuit Court, charged under Virginia law with more than 800 statutory duties, is elected by the citizens of Smyth County as the chief operating officer of the Circuit Court.  The current clerk, John H. Graham, has served since 2010, having been elected then to complete the unexpired term of Jimmy L. Warren.

Circuit Court Clerks in Virginia perform duties that in many other states are divided among three or four separate offices. 

Among the clerk’s more prominent responsibilities is to provide administrative support for all courtroom proceedings.  The clerk creates and maintains all court files and records, maintains the court’s docket, preserves evidence, trains and summonses jurors, prepares court orders for all criminal cases, issues arrest and other legal documents to be served, and collects court costs, fines, and restitution.

The clerk serves as an initial probate judge who determines the validity of wills, identifies heirs, and helps fiduciaries become acquainted with their duties in administering estates.

The clerk serves as the county's register of deeds and, as such, is responsible for recording deeds, deeds of trust, surveys, powers of attorney, judgments, and other documents related to land. 

The clerk processes concealed handgun permits, marriage licenses, notary appointments, ministers’ bonds, trade names for businesses, oaths for various local officials, and financing statements.

Finally, the clerk acts as the county archivist, maintaining many of the most important local records dating back to the founding of Smyth County in 1832.  Given the singular uniqueness of these local documents, records management is a critical responsibility of the clerk.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is one of the five “constitutional officers” created by the Virginia Constitution.  As constitutional officers perform vital services for the public, they are elected by popular vote and are directly accountable to the citizens.  Clerks of Circuit Court have an eight year term of office.  Efficient and reliable operation of the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is critical to maintaining a favorable business climate in Smyth County.

Fee Changes

Effective September 1, 2014, by action of the Smyth County Board of Supervisors, some costs and civil filing fees in the Smyth Circuit Court will increase by no more than $5.00.  This will not effect recording fees for deeds.

Before filing any action, please call the Circuit Court Clerk's Office at 276-782-4044 or go online to the civil filing fee calculator:

Frequently, there are fee changes for the Circuit Court. Please refer to the Supreme Court of Virginia's website, Circuit Fees page (, to obtain the current fees.