CHAPTER 55. ACTIONS, SUITS AND ARBITRATION;
ARTICLE 13. UNIFORM DECLARATORY JUDGMENTS ACT.
§55-13-1. Power of courts to declare rights, status and other
legal relations; objections; form and effect of
Courts of record within their respective jurisdictions shall
have power to declare rights, status and other legal relations
whether or not further relief is or could be claimed. No action or
proceeding shall be open to objection on the ground that a
declaratory judgment or decree is prayed for. The declaration may
be either affirmative or negative in form and effect; and such
declarations shall have the force and effect of a final judgment or
§55-13-2. Who may have determination and obtain declaration.
Any person interested under a deed, will, written contract, or
other writings constituting a contract, or whose rights, status or
other legal relations are affected by a statute, municipal
ordinance, contract or franchise, may have determined any question
of construction or validity arising under the instrument, statute,
ordinance, contract or franchise and obtain a declaration of
rights, status or other legal relations thereunder.
§55-13-3. Construction of contract before or after breach.
A contract may be construed either before or after there has
been a breach thereof.
§55-13-4. Declaration concerning trusts and estates.
Any person interested as or through an executor,
administrator, trustee, guardian or other fiduciary, creditor,
devisee, legatee, heir, next of kin or cestui que trust, in the
administration of a trust, or of the estate of a decedent, an
infant, lunatic or insolvent, may have a declaration of rights or
legal relations in respect thereto:
(a) To ascertain any class of creditors, devisees, legatees,
heirs, next of kin or others; or
(b) To direct the executors, administrators, or trustees to do
or abstain from doing any particular act in their fiduciary
(c) To determine any question arising in the administration of
the estate or trust, including questions of construction of wills
and other writings.
§55-13-5. No restriction on powers conferred by §55-13-1.
The enumeration in sections two, three, and four does not
limit or restrict the exercise of the general powers conferred in
section one, in any proceeding where declaratory relief is sought,
in which a judgment or decree will terminate the controversy or
remove an uncertainty.
§55-13-6. When court may refuse judgment.
The court may refuse to render or enter a declaratory judgment
or decree where such judgment or decree, if rendered or entered,
would not terminate the uncertainty or controversy giving rise to
All orders, judgments and decrees under this article may be
reviewed as other orders, judgments and decrees.
§55-13-8. Further relief.
Further relief based on a declaratory judgment or decree may
be granted whenever necessary or proper. The application therefor
shall be by petition to a court having jurisdiction to grant the
relief. If the application be deemed sufficient, the court shall,
on reasonable notice, require any adverse party whose rights have
been adjudicated by the declaratory judgment or decree, to show
cause why further relief should not be granted forthwith.
§55-13-9. Trial and determination of issues of fact.
When a proceeding under this article involves the
determination of an issue of fact, such issue may be tried and
determined in the same manner as issues of fact are tried and
determined in other civil actions in the court in which the
proceeding is pending.
In any proceeding under this article the court may make such
award of costs as may seem equitable and just.
When declaratory relief is sought, all persons shall be made
parties who have or claim any interest which would be affected by
the declaration, and no declaration shall prejudice the rights of
persons not parties to the proceeding. In any proceeding which
involves the validity of a municipal ordinance or franchise, such
municipality shall be made a party, and shall be entitled to be
heard, and if the statute, ordinance or franchise is alleged to be
unconstitutional, the attorney general of the state shall also be
served with a copy of the proceeding and be entitled to be heard.
§55-13-12. Article remedial; liberal construction and
This article is declared to be remedial; its purpose is to
settle and to afford relief from uncertainty and insecurity with
respect to rights, status and other legal relations; and is to be
liberally construed and administered.
§55-13-13. "Person" defined.
The word "person," wherever used in this article, shall be
construed to mean any person, partnership, joint-stock company,
unincorporated association or society, or municipal or other
corporation of any character whatsoever.
The several sections and provisions of this article, except
sections one and two, are hereby declared independent and
severable, and the invalidity, if any, of any part or feature
thereof shall not affect or render the remainder of the article
invalid or inoperative.
§55-13-15. Interpretation and construction of article.
This article shall be so interpreted and construed as to
effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of the
states which enact it, and to harmonize, as far as possible, with
federal laws and regulations on the subject of declaratory
judgments and decrees.
§55-13-16. Citation of article.
This article may be cited as the "Uniform Declaratory
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
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