Pennsylvania State Courts
The judicial system of Pennsylvania features a vast number of trial courts, some with limited jurisdiction over certain subjects, others with general jurisdiction. These courts are supported by a supreme court and a superior court as well as an unusual commonwealth court. There are also three federal district courts situated within Pennsylvania.
The three federal courts can be the starting point for a huge amount of federal cases, these are situated in different districts:
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
- United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
In the same districts there are also three different bankruptcy courts with a specific jurisdiction to deal with matters pertaining to bankruptcy.
The trial courts within the state are referred to as The Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. There are some smaller courts to deal with smaller civil issues but these Common Pleas courts make up the majority of criminal and civil cases. They also serve as the courts to deal with family issues including probates, custody and even juvenile issues.
There are some Pennsylvania Magisterial Districts. These courts deal with traffic and driving issues, misdemeanors and more minor issues through the state. There are over 500 judges serving in these courts around Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have their own municipal courts, too, but these do not deal with the larger cases reserved for the civil courts.
|Philadelphia Supreme Court
|Pennsylvania Judicial Center 601 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 4500 P.O. Box 62575 Harrisburg, PA 17106
Intermediate and Supreme Courts
Pennsylvania has a Commonwealth Court, which is unusual. This court has been in existence since the 1960s and acts as the appellate court, it basically does the same role as many courts of appeals through other states. It has 9 judges serving and these all serve terms of a full decade.
The other appellate court, and the court of last resort in the state is The Pennsylvania Superior Court. It oversees the pleas from all 67 counties and can handle appeals to come from lower in the hierarchy of the courts. This Superior Court has been in existence since the 1800s.
Types of Courts in Pennsylvania
How to Find Pennsylvania Court Records Online
You can use our simple search tool to find the court records available online. A huge amount of court records are available to search, with details of pleas and sentencing as well as many other legal details, providing they are not otherwise protected by laws.
The Pennsylvania Right to Know Law protects the public nature of the records in Pennsylvania, and dictates that unless otherwise stated, the records created by the state government relating to court cases should be publicly accessible and able to be copied. Most modern records are available digitally through our search tool.