Pennsylvania courts of common pleas

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In Pennsylvania, the courts of common pleas are the trial courts of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania (the state court system).


Court of Common Pleas - Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh Court of Common Pleas - Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (48171522501).jpg
Court of Common Pleas - Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh

The courts of common pleas are the trial courts of general jurisdiction in the state. The name derives from the medieval English court of Common Pleas.

They hear civil cases with a significant amount in controversy and trials for serious crimes. They have original jurisdiction over all cases not exclusively assigned to another court and appellate jurisdiction over judgments from the minor courts (which include the magisterial district courts in all counties but Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Municipal Court and Pittsburgh Municipal Court). They also hear appeals from certain state and most local government agencies.

The courts are established by Article V, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution:

"There shall be one court of common pleas for each judicial district (a) having such divisions and consisting of such number of judges as shall be provided by law, one of whom shall be the president judge; and (b) having unlimited original jurisdiction in all cases except as may otherwise be provided by law."

The courts of common pleas are organized into 60 judicial districts, 53 comprising one of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, and seven comprising two counties.

Each district has from one to 101 judges. Judges of the common pleas courts are elected to ten-year terms. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district. In districts with seven or fewer judges, the president judge with the longest continuous service holds this position. In districts with eight or more judges, the president judge is elected to a five-year term by the court.

Judicial districts

  1. Philadelphia County
  2. Lancaster County
  3. Northampton County
  4. Tioga County
  5. Allegheny County
  6. Erie County
  7. Bucks County
  8. Northumberland County
  9. Cumberland County
  10. Westmoreland County
  11. Luzerne County
  12. Dauphin County
  13. Greene County
  14. Fayette County
  15. Chester County
  16. Somerset County
  17. Snyder County and Union County
  18. Clarion County
  19. York County
  20. Huntingdon County
  21. Schuylkill County
  22. Wayne County
  23. Berks County
  24. Blair County
  25. Clinton County
  26. Columbia County and Montour County
  27. Washington County
  28. Venango County
  29. Lycoming County
  30. Crawford County
  31. Lehigh County
  32. Delaware County
  33. Armstrong County
  34. Susquehanna County
  35. Mercer County
  36. Beaver County
  37. Forest County and Warren County
  38. Montgomery County
  39. Franklin County and Fulton County
  40. Indiana County
  41. Juniata County and Perry County
  42. Bradford County
  43. Monroe County
  44. Sullivan County and Wyoming County
  45. Lackawanna County
  46. Clearfield County
  47. Cambria County
  48. McKean County
  49. Centre County
  50. Butler County
  51. Adams County
  52. Lebanon County
  53. Lawrence County
  54. Jefferson County
  55. Potter County
  56. Carbon County
  57. Bedford County
  58. Mifflin County
  59. Cameron County and Elk County
  60. Pike County

See also

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