Lawyer referral service 2008


The Pennsylvania Court system

For information about the Federal Court, click here.

Note to students: Although sometimes verdicts in a case in one Court are appealed to a higher Court, more often the case is only heard in the appropriate Court.

Click in the area below to find information about that particular level.

  • Supreme Court
    Supreme Court
    Pennsylvania Supreme Court

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the state. The seven-member court:

    • Hears discretionary appeals from the Superior Court and Commonwealth courts.

    • Hears direct appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas in cases specified by statute, including all death-penalty cases and direct appeals from Commonwealth Court in its original jurisdiction.

    • May hear a case from any level in certain circumstances.

    Website

    PA. Supreme Court Justices

  • Commonwealth Court
    Commonwealth Court
    Commonwealth Court

    The Commonwealth Court hears:

    • Original civil cases brought by and against the Commonwealth.

    • Appeals from decisions by state agencies and from Courts of Common Pleas involving the Commonwealth and local agencies.

    Website

    Judges

  • Superior Court
    Superior Court
    Pennsylvania Superior Court

    The Pennsylvania Superior Court hears:

    • Criminal and certain civil appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas.

    • Appeal from Courts of Common Pleas on matters involving children and families.

    Website

    Judges

  • Court of Common Pleas
    Court of Common Pleas
    Court of Common Pleas

    The Court of Common Pleas hears:

    • All major criminal and civil cases.

    • Appeals from the District Magistrates or District Justices in civil, criminal, and traffic matters.

    Most matters involving children and families.

    Website

    Judges

  • District Magistrates
    District Magistrates or District Justices
    Pennsylvania Supreme Court

    The District Magistrates or District Justices hear:

    • Less serious, non-jury criminal, civil, and all traffic cases.

    • Matters pertaining to bail.

    • Whether serious criminal cases, such as murder, should go to the Court of Common Pleas.

    Website

    Judges