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How to petition the court for a change of venue

Updated February 21, 2017

Change of venues, the motion for moving a court proceeding to a different municipality or county, can be requested in criminal, civil or family courts. According to the Constitutional Rights Foundation, "judges rarely grant a change of venue because they are expensive to arrange and inconvenient to all those involved." In larger cities, "judges could maintain that they can find impartial jurors from the diverse population." Although changes of venue are rarely granted, the petitioner can list multiple reasons why their case should be relocated.

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  1. List your reasons for needing a change of venue. Reasons may include, wanting an impartial jury, the racial and/or socioeconomic population breakdown of the area proves unfavourable to your case, previous problems with the judge, authorities and other lawyers, transportation problems and the building is not handicap accessible. Provide specific examples for each reason.

  2. Ask the opposing party if they would agree to a change of venue, whether it occur in the public defender's or District attorney's office, or someplace both the plaintiff and defendant agree upon. In criminal cases, judges may be more amicable to grant a request if both sides agree to it.

  3. File your motion with the court clerk's office. Provide reasons for the requested change of venue in addition to suggestions for other venues. Note several alternative locations, and explain why each location is better than the current one. Try to note at least one reason why the other party in the case would benefit as well.

  4. Tip

    Don't pursue any court action without first consulting an attorney. If wanting to avoid a specific judge, prosecutor or public defender is the reason for the change of venue application, consider requesting a different judge, assistant district attorney or lawyer for a new proceeding at the same location.

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Things You'll Need

  • An attorney
  • Access to county clerk's office.

About the Author

Aaron Gifford is based in New York. He has been on staff at the "Syracuse Post-Standard," the "Watertown Daily Times" and the "Oneida Daily Dispatch." He's also written for "Long Island Newsday," "Empire State Report" magazine and "In Good Health." He has been writing professionally since 1995. Gifford holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University at Buffalo.

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