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Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas

Pennsylvania's Courts of Common Pleas are the general jurisdiction trial courts for the state. These courts hear all major civil and criminal cases along with appeals from the lower courts. The Courts of Common Pleas are spread over 60 judicial districts, and they hold jury trials.

The types of cases heard in Courts of Common Pleas are contract disputes, tort cases, real property cases, probate/estate cases, wills, trusts, domestic relations cases, felonies, misdemeanors, exclusive juvenile matters along with traffic violations and other civil and criminal actions.

Each judicial district has a presiding judge who assumes additional supervisory and administrative responsibilities along with his or her judicial tasks. Judges must be a licensed lawyer to be elected into his or her seat. Elections are held in odd-numbered years, and judges are elected for ten-year terms. They may be re-elected for an unlimited number of terms, but they must retire at age 75. In the event of a vacancy, the Governor will appoint a judge to fill the seat until the next election. Each judge is subject to strict rules as stated on the judicial branch website: "Judges may be removed from office, suspended or disciplined for misconduct in office. These standards are specified in the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Code of Judicial Conduct in the Pennsylvania Rules of Court, the "Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges," and other court rules and orders set by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court."

The Pennsylvania Judicial Branch website has a section listing each Court of Common Pleas judge with their courthouse location and phone numbers. The site also caters to self-represented litigants offering forms for all types of cases, courthouse locations, contact information for additional help. It also includes a payment portal for things like fines, fees and parking tickets, an e-filing portal to upload documents online and a learning library to educate the public and students about the courts structure of Pennsylvania.

Courts in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Court Records Search