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Home » United States » Pennsylvania » Schedule to Judiciary Article – Pennsylvania Constitution

Schedule to Judiciary Article – Pennsylvania Constitution

Schedule to Judiciary Article

Courts Other Than in the City of Philadelphia and Allegheny County

Section 1: The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court shall exercise all the powers and, until otherwise provided by law, jurisdiction now vested in the present Supreme Court and, until otherwise provided by law, the accused in all cases of felonious homicide shall have the right of appeal to the Supreme Court.

Section 2: The Superior Court

Until otherwise provided by law, the Superior Court shall exercise all the jurisdiction now vested in the present Superior Court. The present terms of all judges of the Superior Court which would otherwise expire on the first Monday of January in an odd-numbered year shall be extended to expire in the even- numbered year next following.

Section 3: Commonwealth Court

The Commonwealth Court shall come into existence on January 1, 1970. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this article, the General Assembly shall stagger the initial terms of judges of the Commonwealth Court.

Section 4: The Courts of Common Pleas

Until otherwise provided by law, the several courts of common pleas shall exercise the jurisdiction now vested in the present courts of common pleas. The courts of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery, quarter sessions of the peace, and orphans courts are abolished and the several courts of common pleas shall also exercise the jurisdiction of these courts. Orphans’ courts in judicial districts having separate orphans’ courts shall become orphans’ court divisions of the courts of common pleas and the court of common pleas in those judicial districts shall exercise the jurisdiction presently exercised by the separate orphans’ courts through their respective orphans’ court division.

Section 5: Orphans’ Court Judges

In those judicial districts having separate orphans’ courts, the present judges thereof shall become judges of the orphans’ court division of the court of common pleas and the present president judge shall become the president judge of the orphans’ court division of the court of common pleas for the remainder of his term without diminution in salary.

Section 6: Courts of Common Pleas in Multi-County Judicial Districts

Courts of common pleas in multi-county judicial districts are abolished as separate courts and are hereby constituted as branches of the single court of common pleas established under this article in each such judicial district.

Section 7: Community Courts

In a Judicial district which establishes a community court, a person serving as a justice of the peace at such time:

(a) May complete his term exercising the jurisdiction provided by law with the compensation provided by law, and

(b) Upon completion of his term, his office is abolished and no judicial function of the kind heretofore exercised by a justice of the peace shall thereafter be exercised other than by the community court.

Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace

Section 8: Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace

Notwithstanding any provision in the article, a present justice, judge or justice of the peace may complete his term of office.

Section 9: Associate Judges

The office of associate judge not learned in the law is abolished, but a present associate judge may complete his term.

Section 10: Retention Election of Present Justices and Judges

A present judge who was originally elected to office and seeks retention in 1969 municipal election and is otherwise eligible may file his declaration of candidacy by February 1, 1969.

Section 11: Selection of President Judges

(a) Except in the City of Philadelphia, section ten (d) of the article shall become effective upon the expiration of the term of the present president judge, or upon earlier vacancy.

(b)Notwithstanding section ten (d) of the article the president judge of the Superior Court shall be the judge longest in continuous service on such court if such judge was a member of such court on the first Monday of January 1977. If no such judge exists or is willing to serve as president judge shall be selected as provided by this article.

Magistrates, Aldermen and Justices of the Peace and Magisterial Districts Other Than in the City of Philadelphia

Section 12: Magistrates, Aldermen and Justices of the Peace

An alderman, justice of the peace or magistrate:

(a) May complete his term, exercising the jurisdiction provided by law and with the method of compensation provided by law prior to the adoption of this article;

(b) Shall be deemed to have taken and passed the examination required by this article for justices of the peace if he has completed one full term of office before creation of a magisterial district, and

(c) At the completion of his term, his office is abolished.

(d) Except for officers completing their terms, after the first MOnday in January, 1970, no judicial function of the kind heretofore exercised by these officers, by majors and like officers in municipalities shall be exercised by any officer other than the one justice of the peace elected or appointed to serve in that magisterial district.

Section 13: Magisterial Districts

So that the provisions of this article regarding the establishment of magisterial districts and the instruction and examination of justices of the peace may be self-executing, until otherwise provided by law in a manner agreeable to this article, the following provisions shall be in force:

(a) The Supreme Court or the courts of common pleas under the direction of the Supreme Court shall fix the number and boundaries of magisterial districts of each class within each judicial district by January 1, 1969, and these magisterial districts, except where a community court has been adopted, shall come into existence on January 1, 1970, the justices of the peace thereof to be elected at the municipal election in 1969. These justices of the peace shall retain no fine, costs or any other sum that shall be delivered into their hands for the performance of any judicial duty or for any service connected with their offices, but shall remit the same to the Commonwealth, county, municipal subdivision, school district or otherwise as may be provided by law.

(b) Classes of magisterial districts.
(i) Magisterial districts of the first class shall have a population density of more than five thousand persons per square mile and a population of not less than sixty-five thousand persons.
(ii) Magisterial districts of the second class shall have a population density of between one thousand and five thousand persons per square mile and a population of between twenty thousand persons and sixty-five thousand persons.
(iii) Magisterial districts of the third class shall have a population density of between two hundred and one thousand persons per square mile and a population of between twelve thousand persons and twenty thousand persons.
(iv) Magisterial districts of the fourth class shall have a population density of between seventy and two hundred persons per square mile and a population of between seven thousand five hundred persons and twelve thousand persons.
(v) Magisterial districts of the fifth class shall have a population density of under seventy persons per square mile and a population of between four thousand persons and seven thousand five hundred persons.

See also  Article IV Section 14 Pennsylvania Constitution

(c) Salaries of justices of the peace. The salaries of the justices of the peace shall be as follows:
(i) In first class magisterial districts, twelve thousand dollars per year.
(ii) In second class magisterial districts, ten thousand dollars per year.
(iii) In third class magisterial districts, eight thousand dollars per year.
(iv) In fourth and fifth class magisterial districts, five thousand dollars per year.
(v) The salaries here fixed shall be paid by the State Treasurer and for such payment this article and schedule shall be sufficient warrant.

(d) Course of training, instruction and examination. The course of training and instruction and examination in civil and criminal law and procedure for a justice of the peace shall be devised by the Department of Public Instruction, and it shall administer this course and examination to insure that justices of the peace are competent to perform their duties.

Section 14: Magisterial Districts

Effective immediately upon establishment of magisterial districts and until otherwise prescribed the civil and criminal procedural rules relating to venue shall apply to magisterial districts; all proceedings before aldermen, magistrates and justices of the peace shall be brought in and only in a magisterial district in which occurs an event which would give rise to venue in a court of record; the court of common pleas upon its own motion or on application at any stage of proceedings shall transfer any proceeding in any magisterial district to the justice of the peace for the magisterial district in which proper venue lies.

Prothonotaries and Clerks Other Than in the City of Philadelphia

Section 15: Prothonotaries, Clerks of Courts, Clerks of Orphans’ Courts

Until otherwise provided by law, the offices of prothonotary and clerk of courts shall become the offices of prothonotary and clerk of courts of the court of common pleas of the judicial district, and in multi-county judicial districts of their county’s branch of the court of common pleas, and the clerk of the orphans’ court in a judicial district now having a separate orphans’ court shall become the clerk of the orphans’ court division of the court of common pleas, and these officers shall continue to perform the duties of the office and to maintain and be responsible for the records, books and dockets as heretofore. In judicial districts where the clerk of the orphans’ court is not the register of wills, he shall continue to perform the duties of the office and to maintain and be responsible for the records, books and dockets as heretofore until otherwise provided by law.

The City of Philadelphia

Section 16: Courts and Judges

Until otherwise provided by law:

(a) The court of common pleas shall consist of a trial division, orphans’ court division and family court division.

(b) The judges of the court of common pleas shall become judges of the trial division of the court of common pleas provided for in this article and their tenure shall not otherwise be affected.

(c) The judges of the county court shall become judges of the family court division of the court of common pleas and their tenure shall not otherwise be affected.

(d) The judges of the orphans’ court shall become judges of the orphans’ court division of the court of common pleas and their tenure shall not otherwise be affected.

(e) As designated by the Governor, twenty-two of the present magistrates shall become judges of the municipal court and six shall become judges of the traffic court, and their tenure shall not otherwise be affected.

(f) One of the judges of the court of common pleas shall be president judge and he shall be selected in the manner provided in section ten (d) of this article. He shall be the administrative head of the court and shall supervise the court’s judicial business.

(g) Each division of the court of common pleas shall be presided over by an administrative judge, who shall be one of its judges and shall be elected for a term of five years by a majority vote of the judges of that division. He shall assist the president judge in supervising the judicial business of the court and shall be responsible to him. Subject to the foregoing, the judges of the court of common pleas shall prescribe rules defining the duties of the administrative judges. The president judge shall have the power to assign judges from each division to each other division of court when required to expedite the business of the court.

(h) Until all members of the municipal court are members of the bar of the Supreme Court, the president judge of the court of common pleas shall appoint one of the judges of the municipal court as president judge for a five-year term or at the pleasure of the president judge of the court of common pleas. The president judge of the municipal court shall be eligible to succeed himself as president judge for any number of terms and shall be the administrative head of that court and shall supervise the judicial business of the court. He shall promulgate all administrative rules and regulations and make all judicial assignments. The president judge of the court of common pleas may assign temporarily judges of the municipal court who are members of the bar of the Supreme Court to the court of common pleas when required to expedite the business of the court.

(i) The Governor shall appoint one of the judges of the traffic court as president judge for a term of five years or at the pleasure to the Governor. The president judge of the traffic court shall be eligible to succeed himself as president judge for any number of terms, shall be the executive and administrative head of the traffic court, and shall supervise the judicial business of the court, shall promulgate all administrative rules and regulations, and shall make all judicial assignments.

(j) The exercise of all supervisory and administrative powers detailed in this section sixteen shall be subject to the supervisory and administrative control of the Supreme Court.

(k) The prothonotary shall continue to exercise the duties of that office for the trial division of the court of common pleas and for the municipal court.

(l) The clerk of quarter sessions shall continue to exercise the duties of that office for the trial division of the court of common pleas and for the municipal court.

(m) That officer serving as clerk to the county court shall continue to exercise the duties of that office for the family division of the court of common pleas.

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(n) The register of wills shall serve ex officio as clerk of the orphans’ court division of the court of common pleas.

(o) The court of common pleas shall have unlimited original jurisdiction in all cases except those cases assigned by this schedule to the municipal court and to the traffic court. The court of common pleas shall have all the jurisdiction now vested in the court of common pleas, the court of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery, courts of quarter sessions of the peace, orphans’ court, and county court. Jurisdiction in all of the foregoing cases shall be exercised through the trial division of the court of common pleas except in those cases which are assigned by this schedule to the orphans’ court and family court divisions of the court of common pleas. The court of common pleas through the trial division shall also hear and determine appeals from the municipal court and traffic court.

(p) The court of common pleas through the orphans’ court division shall exercise the jurisdiction heretofore exercised by the orphans’ court.

(q) The court of common pleas through the family court division of the court of common pleas shall exercise jurisdiction in the following matters:

(i) Domestic Relations: desertion or nonsupport of wives, children and indigent parents, including children born out of wedlock; proceedings for custody of children; divorce and annulment and property matters relating thereto.
(ii) Juvenile Matters: dependent, delinquent and neglected children and children under eighteen years of age, suffering from epilepsy, nervous or mental defects, incorrigible, runaway and disorderly minors eighteen to twenty years of age and preliminary hears in criminal cases where the victim is a juvenile.
(iii) Adoptions and Delayed Birth Certificates
(r) The municipal court shall have jurisdiction in the following matters.

(i) Committing magistrates’ jurisdiction in all criminal matters.
(ii) All summary offenses, except those under the motor vehicle laws.
(iii) All criminal offenses for which no prison term may be imposed or which are punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than two years, and indictable offenses under the motor vehicle laws for which no prison term may be imposed or punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than three years. In these cases, the defendant shall have no right of trial by jury in that court, but he shall have the right of appeal for trial de novo including the right to trial by jury to the trial division of the court of common pleas. Until there are a sufficient number of judges who are members of the bar of the Supreme Court serving in the municipal court to handle such matters, the trial division of the court of common pleas shall have concurrent jurisdiction over such matters, the assignment of cases to the respective courts to be determined by rule prescribed by the president judge of the court of common pleas.
(iv) Matters arising under the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951.
(v) All civil claims involving less than five hundred dollars. In these cases, the parties shall have no right of trial by jury in that court but shall have a right of appeal for a trial de novo including the right to trial by jury to the trial division of the court of common pleas, it being the purpose of this subsection to establish an expeditious small claims procedure whereby it shall not be necessary for the litigants to obtain council. This limited grant of civil jurisdiction shall be co-extensive with the civil jurisdiction of the trial division of the court of common pleas.
(vi) As commissioners to preside at arraignments, fix and accept bail, issue warrants and perform duties of a similar nature. The grant of jurisdiction under clauses (iii) and (v) of this subsection may be exercised only by those judges who are members of the bar of the Supreme Court.
(s) The traffic court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all summary offenses under the motor vehicle laws.

(t) the courts of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery, quarter sessions of the peace, the county court, the orphans’ court and the ten separate courts of common pleas are abolished and their jurisdiction and powers shall be exercised by the court of common pleas provided for in this article through the divisions established by this schedule.

(u) The office of magistrate, the board of magistrates and the present traffic court are abolished.

(v) Those judges appointed to the municipal court in accordance with subsection (e) of this section who are not members of the bar of the Supreme Court shall be eligible to complete their present terms and to be elected to and serve for one additional term, but not thereafter.

(w) The causes, proceedings, books, dockets and records of the abolished courts shall become those of the court or division thereof to which, under this schedule, jurisdiction of the proceedings or matters concerned has been transferred, and that court or division thereof shall determine and conclude such proceedings as if it had assumed jurisdiction in the first instance.

(x) The present president judges of the abolished courts and chief magistrate shall continue to receive the compensation to which they are now entitled as president judges and chief magistrate until the end of their present terms as president judges and chief magistrate respectively.

(y) The offices of prothonotary and register of wills in the City of Philadelphia shall no longer be considered constitutional offices under this article, but their powers and functions shall continue as at present until these offices are covered in the Home Rule Charter by a referendum in the manner provided by law.

(z) If a community court is established in the City of Philadelphia, a person serving as a judge of the municipal or traffic court at that time:

(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (v) of this section, may complete his term exercising the jurisdiction provided by law and with the compensation provided by law; and
(ii) At the completion of his term, his office is abolished and no jurisdiction of the kind exercised by those officers immediately after the effective date of this article and schedule shall thereafter be exercises other than by the community court.

Allegheny County

Section 17: Courts

Until otherwise provided by law:

(a) The court of common pleas shall consist of a trial division, an orphans’ court division and a family court division; the courts of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery and quarter sessions of the peace, the county court, the orphans’ court, and the juvenile court are abolished and their present jurisdiction shall be exercised by the court of common pleas. Until otherwise provided by rule of the court of common pleas and, except as otherwise provided in this schedule,the court of common pleas shall exercise the jurisdiction of the present court of common pleas and the present county court through the trial division. Until otherwise provided by rule of the court of common pleas, the jurisdiction of the present orphans’ court, except as otherwise provided in this schedule, shall be exercised by the court of common pleas through the orphans’ court division.

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(b) Until otherwise provided by rule of the court of common pleas, the court of common pleas shall exercise jurisdiction in the following matters through the family court division:

(i) Domestic Relations: Desertion or nonsupport or nonsupport of wives, children and indigent parents, including children born out of wedlock; proceedings, including habeas corpus, for custody of children; divorce and annulment and property matters relating thereto.
(ii) Juvenile Matters: All matters now within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.
(iii) Adoptions and Delayed Birth Certificates.

Section 18: Judges

Until otherwise provided by law, the present judges of the court of common pleas shall continue to act as the judges of that court; the present judges of the county court shall become judges of the court of common pleas; the present judges of the orphans’ court shall become judges of the orphans’ court division of the court of common pleas; the present judges of the juvenile court shall become judges of the family court division of the court of common pleas.

Section 19: President Judges

The present president judge of the court of common pleas may complete his term as president judge; the present president judge of the orphans’ court shall be the president judge of the orphans’ court division of the court of common pleas for the remainder of his term as president judge, and the present president judge of the county court shall be the president judge of the family court division of the court of common pleas for the remainder of his term as president judge, all these without diminution of salary as president judge. The president judge of the trial division shall be selected pursuant to section twenty of this schedule.

Section 20: President Judges; Court Division

Until otherwise provided by law, the trial division, the orphans’ court division and the family court division of the court of common pleas shall each be presided over by a president judge, who shall be one of the judges of such division and shall be elected for a term of five years by a majority vote of the judges of that division. He shall assist the president judge of the court of common pleas in supervising the judicial business of the court and shall be responsible to him. Subject to the foregoing, the judges of the court of common pleas shall prescribe rules defining the duties of the president judges. The president judge of the court of common pleas shall have the power to assign judges from one division to another division of the court when required to expedite the business of the court. The exercise of these supervisory and administrative powers, however, shall be subject to the supervisory and administrative powers of the Supreme Court.

The City of Pittsburgh

Section 21: Inferior Courts

Upon the establishment of magisterial districts pursuant to this article and schedule, and unless otherwise provided by law, the police magistrates, including those serving in the traffic court, the housing court and the city court shall continue as at present. Such magistrates shall be part of the unified judicial system and shall be subject to the general supervisory and administrative authority of the Supreme Court. Such magistrates shall be subject to the provisions of this article and schedule regarding educational requirements and prohibited activities of justices of the peace.

Causes, Proceedings, Books and Records

Section 22: Causes, Proceedings, Books and Records

All causes and proceedings pending in any abolished court or office of the justice of the peace shall be determined and concluded by the court to which jurisdiction of the proceedings has been transferred under this schedule and all books, dockets and records of any abolished court or office of the justice of the peace shall become those of the court to which, under this schedule, jurisdiction of the proceedings concerned has been transferred.

Commission and Board

Section 23: Judicial Qualifications Commission

The selection of the first members of the Judicial Qualifications Commission provided for in section fourteen (a) of this article shall be made as follows: The Governor shall appoint the four non-lawyer members for terms of, respectively, one year, three years, five years and seven years, no more than two of whom shall be members of the same political party. The Supreme Court shall appoint the three non-judge members of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for terms, respectively, of two years, four years and six years, no more than two of whom shall be members of the same political party.

Section 24: Judicial Inquiry and Review Board

The selection of the first members of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board shall be made as follows: one judge of the Superior Court, one non-judge member of the bar of the Supreme Court, and one non-lawyer member shall be selected for two-year terms; one judge of the Superior Court, one non-judge member of the bar of the Supreme Court, and one non-lawyer member shall be selected for four years terms; one judge of the court of common pleas shall be selected for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, and one for a term of four years.

General Provisions

Section 25: Dispensing with Trial by Jury

Until otherwise provided by law, the parties, by agreement filed, may in any civil case dispense with trial by jury, and submit the decision of such case to the court having jurisdiction thereof, and such court shall hear and determine the same; and the judgment thereon shall be subject to writ of error as in other cases.

Section 26: Writs of Certiorari

Unless and until changed by rule of the Supreme Court, in addition to the right of appear under section nine of this article, the judges of the courts of common pleas, within their respective judicial districts, shall have power to issue writs of certiorari to the municipal court in the City of Philadelphia, justices of the peace and inferior courts not of record and to cause their proceedings to be brought before them, and right and justice to be done.

Section 27: Judicial Districts

Until changed in accordance with section eleven of this article, the number and boundaries of judicial districts shall remain as at present.

Section 28: Referendum

The officer of the Commonwealth who under law shall have supervision over elections shall cause the question provided for in section thirteen (d) of this article to be placed on the ballot in the 1969 primary election throughout the Commonwealth.

Section 29: Persons Specially Admitted by Local Rules

Any person now specially admitted to practice may continue to practice in the court of common pleas or in that division of the court of common pleas and the municipal court in the City of Philadelphia which substantially includes the practice for which such person was previously specially admitted.

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