Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and the court of last resort for appeals. The state also a Superior Court that was established in 1895 and serves as the intermediate appellate court for the state. Then in 1968, Pennsylvania created another appellate court, the Commonwealth Court to alleviate some of the caseload on the Supreme and Superior Courts.
The Superior Court in Pennsylvania has twenty judges. One of them serves as Chief Judge. Six others are considered Senior Judges. These judges are elected into office and may serve 10-year terms with the option of re-election at the end of the term. They must retire at age 75. The team of judges works together to review appeals from the lower courts. They hear civil, criminal, limited interlocutory appeals, and writ appeals.
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court was created in 1968 to take some of the workload off the Supreme and Superior Courts. This court is an intermediate court that hears appeals from the lower courts. Commonwealth Court hears civil appeals of all types, criminal appeals and licensing and disciplinary actions. Pennsylvania allows both paper and electronic filing for appeals in Commonwealth Court. They also provide ADA accommodations. The courts have nine judges, including a Chief Judge and Senior Judge.
The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania’s website has biographies of each appellate court judge along with contact details. Their opinions are also published regularly on the website for public review. There are also detailed instructions on how to prepare a brief, file in person using paper documents or file online using their PACFile system. Additionally, patrons of the court system can consult the appellate court calendars to find out when oral arguments will be held to attend them in person.