How Does The Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Work? | Courtrecords.org
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How Does the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Work?

The general trial level courts in Pennsylvania are called the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas. Although Pennsylvania has minor courts for addressing small civil claims, non-traffic citations, and landlord-tenant matters, the primary courts for these matters are the Courts of Common Pleas. These courts often initiate large civil cases and have jurisdiction over most misdemeanor cases and all felony cases. The Court of Common Pleas also supervises hearings regarding family matters such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and adoption. Generally, the Court of Common Pleas hears:

  • Appeals from the Philadelphia Municipal Court and the Magisterial District Court
  • All appeals not explicitly assigned to another court
  • Orphan’s Court matters
  • Family Court matters
  • Civil lawsuits
  • Criminal cases

The state has organized the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas district. Most judicial districts in Pennsylvania cover a single county, although seven of the judicial districts comprise two counties due to the light population. Although there are 67 counties in the state, the combining of counties has resulted in 60 judicial districts. Each district has at least one to 93 Common Pleas judges, including a president judge and court administrator or clerk. While counties combined into a single district have specific rules for the entire district, there are separate county offices, courthouses, and dockets that apply to only one county.

Pennsylvania judges can be designated at the Common pleas level based on election, retention election, or appointment from an official. When up for election, a judge may be selected for a ten-year term by winning a general or primary election, either partisan or non-partisan. Judges are also allowed to run under both major political parties and are not limited to just one. After serving nine years on the Court of Common pleas, a judge may file for a retention election if the party desires to stay seated on the panel. Essentially, a retention election is a simple vote by the judge’s colleagues and superiors regarding whether or not the party will continue to serve as a judge. The governor may appoint judges if a vacancy appears on the panel due to death, retirement, or removal. Two-thirds must approve an appointment by the governor of the Senate.

Judge candidates must be a member of the state bar, a Pennsylvania resident, and under 75 years of age. When a judge turns 75 years old, the law requires retirement. If a judge turns 75 before finishing the term, an interim judge will be appointed. The interim judge will typically serve on the bench for the remainder of the retired judge’s term. Removal and replacement can happen if a judge is charged and convicted of wrongful judicial conduct by the Judicial Conduct Board.

Individuals can access case dockets for the Pennsylvania Court of Common pleas on the Pennsylvania Judicial System portal. This portal allows users to search for, view, and print out docket sheets. Parties can request physical copies of case records from the specific magisterial district court office where the case was filed. Although not required, it may serve the search to provide the clerk with a filled out request form.

Individuals can access the Common Pleas court in a county by visiting the find a Court map or referring to the following list of courthouses:

Adams County Courthouse

111 Baltimore Street

Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: (717) 334–6781

Allegheny County Courthouse

436 Grant Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: (412) 350–5410

Armstrong County Courthouse

500 E. Market Street

Kittanning, PA 16201

Phone: (724) 543–2500

Beaver County Courthouse

810 3rd Street

Beaver, PA 15009

Phone: (724) 728–5700

Bedford County Courthouse

200 S. Juliana Street

Bedford, PA 15522

Phone: (814) 623–4812

Fax: (814) 623–3858

Berks County Courthouse

633 Court Street

Reading, PA 19601

Phone: (610) 478–6208

Blair County Courthouse

423 Allegheny Street

Hollidaysburg, PA 16648

Phone: (814) 693–3000

Bradford County Courthouse

301 Main Street

Towanda, PA 18848

Phone: (570) 265–1707

Bucks County Justice Center

100 North Main Street

Doylestown, PA 18901

Phone: (215) 348–6000

Butler County Courthouse

124 West Diamond Street

Butler, PA 16001

Phone: (724) 285–4731

Cambria County Courthouse

200 South Center Street

Ebensburg, PA 15931

Phone: (814) 472–5440

Cameron County Courthouse

20 E. 5th Street

Emporium, PA 15834

Phone: (814) 486–2315

Carbon County Courthouse

4 Broadway

Jim Thorpe, PA 18229

Phone: (570) 325–3661

403 Centre County Courthouse

Bellefonte, PA 16823

Phone: (814) 355–6728

Chester County Courthouse

201 W. Market Street

West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: (610) 344–6000

Clarion County Courthouse

421 Main Street

Clarion, PA 16214

Phone: (814) 226–4000

Clearfield County Courthouse

1 N. Second Street

Clearfield, PA 16830

Phone: (814) 765–2641

Clinton County Courthouse

230 E. Water Street

Lock Haven, PA 17745

Phone: (570) 893–4016

Columbia County Courthouse

35 W. Main Street

Bloomsburg, PA 17815

Phone: (570) 389–5600

Crawford County Judicial Center

359 E. Center St.

Meadville, PA 16335

Phone: (814) 333–7498

Cumberland County Courthouse

1 Courthouse Square

Carlisle, PA 17013

Phone: (717) 240–6100

Dauphin County Courthouse

101 Market Street

Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: (717) 780–6630

Delaware County Courthouse

201 W. Front Street

Media, PA 19063

Phone: (610) 891–4000

Elk County Courthouse

240 Main Street

P. O. Box 448

Ridgway, PA 15853

Phone: (814) 776–1161

Erie County Courthouse

140 W. Sixth Street

Room 210

Erie, PA 16501

Phone: (814) 451–6000

Fayette County Courthouse

61 E. Main Street

Uniontown, PA 15401

Phone: (724) 430–1206

Forest County Courthouse

526 Elm Street

Box 3

Tionesta, PA 16353

Phone: (814) 755–3537

Old Courthouse Building

2 N. Main Street

Chambersburg, PA 17201

Phone: (717) 261–3848

Fulton County Courthouse

201 N. Second Street

McConnellsburg, PA 17233

Phone: (717) 485–4212

Greene County Courthouse

10 E. High Street

2nd Floor

Waynesburg, PA 15370

Phone: (724) 852–5312

Huntingdon County Courthouse

223 Penn Street

Huntingdon, PA 16652

Phone: (814) 643–4510

f. (814) 643–8152

Indiana County Courthouse

825 Philadelphia Street

Indiana, PA 15701

Phone: (724) 465–3955

Jefferson County Courthouse

200 Main Street

Brookville, PA 15825

Phone: (814) 849–1621

Juniata County Courthouse

26 N. Main Street

Mifflintown, PA 17059

Phone: (717) 436–7709

Lackawanna County Courthouse

200 N. Washington Avenue

Scranton, PA 18503

Phone: (570) 963–6773

Lawrence County Courthouse

430 Court Street

New Castle, PA 16101

Phone: (724) 658–2541

Lebanon County Courthouse

400 S. 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Phone: (717) 274–2801

Lehigh County Courthouse

455 W. Hamilton Street

Allentown, PA 18101

Phone: (610) 782–3000

Luzerne County Courthouse

200 N. River Street

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711

Phone: (570) 825–1500

Lycoming County Courthouse

48 W. Third Street

4th Floor

Williamsport, PA 17701

Phone: (570) 327–2330

McKean County Courthouse

500 W. Main Street

Smethport, PA 16749

Phone: (814) 887–5571

Mercer County Courthouse

103 N. Diamond Street

Mercer, PA 16137

Phone: (724) 662–3800

f. (724) 662–0620

Mifflin County Courthouse

20 N. Wayne Street

Lewistown, PA 17044

Monroe County Courthouse

610 Monroe St.

Stroudsburg, PA 18360

Phone: (570) 420–3400

Montgomery County Courthouse

2 E. Airy St.

Norristown, PA 19401

Phone: (610) 278–3000

Montour County Courthouse

253 Mill St.

Danville, PA 17821

Phone: (570) 271–3000

Northampton County Courthouse

669 Washington St.

Easton, PA 18042

Phone: (610) 559–3000

Northumberland County Courthouse

201 Market St.

Sunbury, PA 17801

Phone: (570) 988–4167

Perry County Courthouse

2 E. Main Street

P. O. Box 37

New Bloomfield, PA 17068

Phone: (717) 582–2131

f. (717) 582–5162

Philadelphia Courts

Broad and Market Streets

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 686–6670

Pike County Courthouse

410 Broad Street

Milford, PA 18337

Phone: (570) 296–7231

f. (570) 296–6054

Potter County Courthouse

1 E. Second Street

Coudersport, PA 16915

Phone: (814) 274–8290

Schuylkill County Courthouse

401 N. Second Street

Pottsville, PA 17901

Phone: (570) 622–5570

Snyder County Courthouse

9 W. Market Street

P. O. Box 217

Middleburg, PA 17842

Phone: (570) 837–4207

f. (570) 837–4282

Somerset County Courthouse

111 E. Union Street

Somerset, PA 15501

Phone: (814) 445–1473

Sullivan County Courthouse

245 Muncy Street

P. O. Box 157

Laporte, PA 18626

Phone: (570) 946–5201

Susquehanna County Courthouse

P. O. Box 218

Montrose PA 18801

Phone: (570) 278–4600

Tioga County Courthouse

118 Main Street

Wellsboro, PA 16901

Phone: (570) 723–8380

f. (570) 723–1633

Union County Courthouse

103 S. Second Street

Lewisburg, PA 17837

Phone: (570) 524–8761

Venango County Courthouse

1168 Liberty Street

2nd Floor

Franklin, PA 16323

Phone: (814) 432–9610

Warren County Courthouse

204 Fourth Avenue

Warren, PA 16365

Phone: (814) 728–3530

Washington County Courthouse

1 S. Main Street

Suite 2004

Washington, PA 15301

Phone: (724) 228–6700

Wayne County Courthouse

925 Court Street

Honesdale, PA 18431

Phone: (570) 253–5970

Westmoreland County Courthouse

2 N. Main Street

Greensburg, PA 15601

Phone: (724) 830–3826

Wyoming County Courthouse

1 Courthouse Square

Tunkhannock, PA 18657

Phone: (570) 836–3200

York County Judicial Center

45 N. George Street

York, PA 17401

Phone: (717) 771–9234

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