THE JUDICIARY

Unified Judicial System
Section 1

The judicial power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a unified judicial system consisting of the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, the Commonwealth Court, courts of common pleas, community courts, municipal and traffic courts in the City of Philadelphia, such other courts as may be provided by law and justices of the peace. All courts and justices of the peace and their jurisdiction shall be in this unified judicial system.

Supreme Court
Section 2

The Supreme Court

(a) shall be the highest court of the Commonwealth and in this court shall be reposed the supreme judicial power of the Commonwealth;

(b) shall consist of seven justices, one of whom shall be the Chief Justice; and

(c) shall have such jurisdiction as shall be provided by law.

Superior Court
Section 3

The Superior Court shall be a statewide court, and shall consist of the number of judges, which shall be not less than seven judges, and have such jurisdiction as shall be provided by this Constitution or by the General Assembly. One of its judges shall be the president judge.

Commonwealth Court
Section 4

The Commonwealth Court shall be a statewide court, and shall consist of the number of judges and have such jurisdiction as shall be provided by law. One of its judges shall be the president judge.

Courts of Common Pleas
Section 5

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.

Community Courts; Philadelphia Municipal Court and Traffic Court
Section 6

(a) in any judicial district a majority of the electors voting thereon may approve the establishment or discontinuance of a community court. Where a community court is approved, one community court shall be established; its divisions, number of judges and jurisdiction shall be as provided by law.

(b) The question whether a community court shall be established or discontinued in any judicial district shall be placed upon the ballot in a primary election by petition which shall be in the form prescribed by the officer of the Commonwealth who under law shall have supervision over elections. The petition shall be filed with that officer and shall be signed by a number of electors equal to five percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for the office occupied by a single official for which the highest number of votes was cast in that judicial district at the last preceding general or municipal election. The manner of signing such petitions, the time of circulating them, the affidavits of the persons circulating them and all other details not contained herein shall be governed by the general laws relating to elections. The question shall not be placed upon the ballot in a judicial district more than once in any five-year period.

(c) In the City of Philadelphia there shall be a municipal Court and a traffic court. The number of judges and the jurisdiction of each shall be as provided by law. These courts shall exist so long as a community court has not been established or in the event one has been discontinued under this section.

Justices of the Peace; Magisterial Districts
Section 7

(a) In any judicial district, other than the City of Philadelphia, where a community court has not been established or where one has been discontinued there shall be one justice of the peace in each magisterial district. The jurisdiction of the justice of the peace shall be as provided by law.

(b) The General Assembly shall by law establish classes of magisterial districts solely on the basis of population and population density and shall fix the salaries to be paid justices of the peace in each class. The number and boundaries of magisterial districts of each class within each judicial district shall be established by the Supreme Court or by the courts of common pleas under the direction of the Supreme Court as required for the efficient administration of justice within each magisterial district.

Other Courts
Section 8

The General Assembly may establish additional courts or divisions of existing courts, as needed, or abolish any statutory court or division thereof.

Right of Appeal
Section 9

There shall be a right of appeal in all cases to a court of record from a court not of record; and there shall also be a right of appeal from a court of record or from an administrative agency to a court of record or to an appellate court, the selection of such court to be as provided by law; and there shall be such other rights of appeal as may be provided by law.

Judicial Administration
Section 10

(a) The Supreme Court shall exercise general supervisory and administrative authority over all the courts and justices of the peace, including authority to temporarily assign judges and justices of the peace from one court or district to another as it deems appropriate.

(b) The Supreme Court shall appoint a court administrator and may appoint such subordinate administrators and staff as may be necessary and proper for the prompt and proper disposition of the business of all courts and justices of the peace.

(c) The Supreme Court shall have the power to prescribe general rules governing practice, procedure and the conduct of all courts, justices of the peace and all officers serving process or enforcing orders, judgments or decrees of any court or justice of the peace, including the power to provide for assignment and reassignment of classes of actions or classes of appeals among the several courts as the needs of justice shall require, and for admission to the bar and to practice law, and the administration of all courts and supervision of all officers of the Judicial Branch, if such rules are consistent with this Constitution and neither abridge, enlarge nor modify the substantive rights of any litigant, nor affect the right of the General Assembly to determine the jurisdiction of any court or justice of the peace, nor suspend nor alter any statute of limitation or repose. All laws shall be suspended to the extent that they are inconsistent with rules prescribed under these provisions. Nothwithstanding the provisions of this section, the General Assembly may by statute provide for the manner of testimony of child victims or child material witnesses in criminal proceedings, including the use of videotaped depositions or testimony by closed-circuit television.

(d) The Chief Justice and president judges of all courts with seven or less judges shall be the justice or judge longest in continuous service on their respective courts; and in the event of his resignation from this position the justice or judge next longest in continuous service shall be the Chief Justice or president judge. The president judges of all other courts shall be selected for five-year terms by the members of their respective courts, except that the president judge of the traffic court in the City of Philadelphia shall be appointed by the Governor. A Chief Justice or president judge may resign such position and remain a member of the court. In the event of a tie vote for office of president judge in a court which elects its president judge, the Supreme Court shall appoint as president judge one of the judges receiving the highest number of votes.

(e) Should any two or more justices or judges of the same court assume office at the same time, they shall cast lots forthwith for priority of commission, and certify the results to the Governor who shall issue their commissions accordingly.

Judicial Districts; Boundaries
Section 11

The number and boundaries of judicial districts shall be changed by the General Assembly only with the advice and consent of the Supreme Court.

Qualifications of Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace
Section 12

(a) Justices, judges and justices of the peace shall be citizens of the Commonwealth. Justices and judges, except the judges of traffic court in the City of Philadelphia, shall be members of the bar of the Supreme Court. Justices and judges of statewide courts, for a period of one year preceding their election or appointment and during their continuance in office, shall reside within the Commonwealth. Other judges and justices of the peace, for a period of one year preceding their election or appointment and during their continuance in office, shall reside with their respective districts, except as provided in this article for temporary assignments.

(b) Judges of the traffic court in the City of Philadelphia and justices of the peace shall be members of the bar of the Supreme Court or shall complete a course of training and instruction in the duties of their respective offices and pass an examination prior to assuming office. Such courses and examinations shall be as provided by law.

Election of Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace; Vacancies
Section 13

(a) Justices, judges and justices of the peace shall be elected at the municipal election next preceding the commencement of their respective terms of office by the electors of the Commonwealth or the respective districts in which they are to serve.

(b) A vacancy in the office of justice, judge or justice of the peace shall be filled by appointment by the Governor. The appointment shall be with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the members elected to the Senate, except in the case of justices of the peace which shall be by a majority. The person so appointed shall serve for a term ending on the first Monday of January following the next municipal election more than ten months after the vacancy occurs or for the remainder of the unexpired term whichever is less, except in the case of persons selected as additional judges to the Superior Court, where the General Assembly may stagger and fix the length of the initial terms of such additional judges by reference to any of the first, second and third municipal elections more than ten months after the additional judges are selected. The manner by which any additional judges are selected shall be provided by this section for the filling of vacancies in judicial offices.

(c) The provisions of section thirteen (b) shall not apply either in the case of a vacancy to be filled by retention election as provided in section fifteen (b), or in the case of a vacancy created by failure of a justice or judge to file a declaration for retention election as provided in section fifteen (b) in the case of a vacancy occurring at the expiration of an appointive term under section thirteen (b), the vacancy shall be filled by election as provided in section thirteen (a).

(d) At the primary election in 1969, the electors of the Commonwealth may elect to have the justices and judges of the Supreme, Superior, Commonwealth and all other statewide courts appointed by the Governor from a list of persons qualified for the offices submitted to him by the Judicial Qualifications Commission. If a majority vote of those voting on the question is in favor of this method of appointment, then whenever any vacancy occurs thereafter for any reason in such court, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment in the manner prescribed in this subsection. Such appointment shall not require the consent of the Senate.

(e) Each justice or judge appointed by the Governor under section thirteen (d) shall hold office for an initial term ending the first Monday of January following the next municipal election more than twenty-four months following the appointment.

Judicial Qualifications Commission
Section 14

(a) Should the method of judicial selection be adopted as provided in section thirteen (d), there shall be a Judicial Qualifications Commission, composed of four non-lawyer electors appointed by the Governor and three non-judge members of the bar of the Supreme Court appointed by the Supreme Court. No more than four members shall be of the same political party. The members of the commission shall serve for terms of seven years, with one member being selected each year. The commission shall consider all names submitted to it and recommend to the Governor not fewer than ten nor more than twenty of those qualified for each vacancy to be filled.

(b) During his term, no member shall hold a public office or public appointment for which he receive compensation, nor shall he hold office in a political party or political organization.

(c) A vacancy on the commission shall be filled by the appointing authority for the balance of the term.

Tenure of Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace
Section 15

(a) The regular term of office of justices and judges shall be ten years and the regular term of office for judges of the municipal court and traffic court in the City of Philadelphia and of justices of the peace shall be six years. The tenure of any justice or judge shall not be affected by changes in judicial districts or by reduction in the number of judges.

(b) A justice or judge elected under section thirteen (a), appointed under section thirteen (d) or retained under this section fifteen (b) may file a declaration of candidacy for retention election with the officer of the Commonwealth who under law shall have supervision over elections on or before the first Monday of January of the year preceding the year in which his term of office expires. If no declaration is filed, a vacancy shall exist upon the expiration of the term of office of such justice or judge, to be filled by election under section thirteen (a) or by appointment under section thirteen (d) if applicable. If a justice or judge files a declaration, his name shall be submitted to the electors without party designation, on a separate judicial ballot or in a separate column on voting machines, at the municipal election immediately preceding the expiration of the term of office of the justice or judge, to determine only the question whether he shall be retained in office. If a majority is against retention, a vacancy shall exist upon the expiration of his term of office, to be filled by appointment under section thirteen (b) or under section thirteen (d) if applicable. If a majority favors retention, the justice or judge shall serve for the regular term of office provided herein, unless sooner removed or retired. At the expiration of each term a justice or judge shall be eligible for retention as provided herein, subject only to the retirement provisions of this article.

Compensation and Retirement of Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace
Section 16

(a) Justices, judges and justices of the peace shall be compensated by the Commonwealth as provided by law. Their compensation shall not be diminished during their terms of office, unless by law applying generally to all salaried officers of the Commonwealth.

(b) Justices, judges and justices of the peace shall be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of seventy years. Former and retired justices, judges and justices of the peace shall receive such compensation as shall be provided by law. Except as provided by law, no salary, retirement benefit or other compensation, present or deferred, shall be paid to any justice, judge or justice of the peace who, under section eighteen or under Article VI, is suspended, removed or barred from holding judicial office for conviction of a felony or misconduct in office or conduct which prejudices the proper administration of justice or brings the judicial office into disrepute.

(c) A former or retired justice or judge may, with his consent, be assigned by the Supreme Court on temporary judicial service as may be prescribed by rule of the Supreme Court.

Prohibited Activities
Section 17

(a) Justices and judges shall devote full time to their judicial duties, and shall not engage in the practice of law, hold office in a political party or political organization, or hold an office or position of profit in the government of the United States, the Commonwealth or any municipal corporation or political subdivision thereof, except in the armed service of the United States or the Commonwealth.

(b) Justices and judges shall not engage in any activity prohibited by law and shall not violate any canon of legal or judicial ethics prescribed by the Supreme Court. Justices of the peace shall be governed by rules or canons which shall be prescribed by the Supreme Court.

(c) No justice, judge or justice of the peace shall be paid or accept for the performance of any judicial duty or for any service connected with his office, any fee, emolument of perquisite other than the salary and expenses provided by law.

(d) No duties shall be imposed by law upon the Supreme Court or any of the justices thereof or the Superior Court or any of the judges thereof, except such as are judicial, nor shall any of them exercise any power of appointment except as provided in this Constitution.

Suspension, Removal, Discipline and Other Sanctions.
Section 18

(a) There shall be an independent board within the Judicial Branch, known as the Judicial Conduct Board, the composition, powers and duties of which shall be as follows:

(1) The board shall be composed of 12 members, as follows: two judges, other than senior judges, one from the courts of common pleas and the other from either the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court, one justice of the peace who need not be a member of the bar of the Supreme Court, three non-judge members of the bar of the Supreme Court and six non-lawyer electors.

(2) The judge from either the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court, the justice of the peace, one non-judge member of the bar of the Supreme Court and three non-lawyer electors shall be appointed to the board by the Supreme Court. The judge from the courts of common pleas, two non-judge members of the bar of the Supreme Court and three non-lawyer electors shall be appointed to the board by the Governor.

(3) Except for the initial appointees whose terms shall be provided by the schedule to this article, the members shall serve for terms of four years. All members must be residents of this Commonwealth. No more than three of the six members appointed by the Supreme Court may be registered in the same political party. No more than three of the six members appointed by the Governor may be registered in the same political party. Membership of a judge or justice of the peace shall terminate if the member ceases to hold the judicial position that qualified the member for the appointment. Membership shall terminate if a member attains a position that would have rendered the member ineligible for appointment at the time of the appointment. A vacancy shall be filled by the respective appointing authority for the remainder of the term to which the member was appointed. No member may serve more than four consecutive years but may be reappointed after a lapse of one year. The Governor shall convene the board for its first meeting. At that meeting and annually thereafter, the members of the board shall elect a chairperson. The board shall act only with the concurrence of a majority of its members.

(4) No member of the board, during the member's term, may hold office in a political party or political organization. Except for a judicial member, no member of the board, during the member's term, may hold a compensated public office or public appointment. All members shall be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred in the discharge of their official duties.

(5) The board shall prescribe general rules governing the conduct of members. A member may be removed by the board for a violation of the rules governing the conduct of members.

(6) The board shall appoint a chief counsel and other staff, prepare and administer its own budget as provided by law, exercise supervisory and administrative authority over all board staff and board functions, establish and promulgate its own rules of procedure, prepare and disseminate an annual report and take other actions as are necessary to ensure its efficient operation. The budget request of the board shall be made by the board as a separate item in the request submitted by the Supreme Court on behalf of the Judicial Branch to the General Assembly.

(7) The board shall receive and investigate complaints regarding judicial conduct filed by individuals or initiated by the board; issue subpoenas to compel testimony under oath of witnesses, including the subject of the investigation, and to compel the production of documents, books, accounts and other records relevant to the investigation; determine whether there is probable cause to file formal charges against a justice, judge or justice of the peace for conduct proscribed by this section; and present the case in support of the charges before the Court of Judicial Discipline.

(8) Complaints filed with the board or initiated by the board shall not be public information. Statements, testimony, documents, records or other information or evidence acquired by the board in the conduct of an investigation shall not be public information. A justice, judge or justice of the peace who is the subject of a complaint filed with the board or initiated by the board or of an investigation conducted by the board shall be apprised of the nature and content of the complaint and afforded an opportunity to respond fully to the complaint prior to any probable cause determination by the board. All proceedings of the board shall be confidential except when the subject of the investigation waives confidentiality. If, independent of any action by the board, the fact that an investigation by the board is in progress becomes a matter of public record, the board may, at the direction of the subject of the investigation, issue a statement to confirm that the investigation is in progress, to clarify the procedural aspects of the proceedings, to explain the rights of the subject of the investigation to a fair hearing without prejudgment or to provide the response of the subject of the investigation to the complaint. In acting to dismiss a complaint for lack of probable cause to file formal charges, the board may, at its discretion, issue a statement or report to the complainant or to the subject of the complaint, which may contain the identity of the complainant, the identity of the subject of the complaint, the contents and nature of the complaint, the actions taken in the conduct of the investigation and the results and conclusions of the investigation. The board may include with a report a copy of information or evidence acquired in the course of the investigation.

(9) If the board finds probable cause to file formal charges concerning mental or physical disability against a justice, judge or justice of the peace, the board shall so notify the subject of the charges and provide the subject with an opportunity to resign from judicial office or, when appropriate, to enter a rehabilitation program prior to the filing of the formal charges with the Court of Judicial Discipline.

(10) Members of the board and its chief counsel and staff shall be absolutely immune from suit for all conduct in the course of their official duties. No civil action or disciplinary complaint predicated upon the filing of a complaint or other documents with the board or testimony before the board may be maintained against any complainant, witness or counsel.

(b) There shall be a Court of Judicial Discipline, the composition, powers and duties of which shall be as follows:

(1) The court shall be composed of a total of eight members as follows: three judges other than senior judges from the courts of common pleas, the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court, one justice of the peace, two non-judge members of the bar of the Supreme Court and two non-lawyer electors. Two judges, the justice of the peace and one non-lawyer elector shall be appointed to the court by the Supreme Court. One judge, the two non-judge members of the bar of the Supreme Court and one non-lawyer elector shall be appointed to the court by the Governor.

(2) Except for the initial appointees whose terms shall be provided by the schedule to this article, each member shall serve for a term of four years; however, the member, rather than the member's successor, shall continue to participate in any hearing in progress at the end of the member's term. All members must be residents of this Commonwealth. No more than two of the members appointed by the Supreme Court may be registered in the same political party. No more than two of the members appointed by the Governor may be registered in the same political party. Membership of a judge or justice of the peace shall terminate if the judge or justice of the peace ceases to hold the judicial position that qualified the judge or justice of the peace for appointment. Membership shall terminate if a member attains a position that would have rendered that person ineligible for appointment at the time of the appointment. A vacancy on the court shall be filled by the respective appointing authority for the remainder of the term to which the member was appointed in the same manner in which the original appointment occurred. No member of the court may serve more than four consecutive years but may be reappointed after a lapse of one year.

(3) The court shall prescribe general rules governing the conduct of members. A member may be removed by the court for a violation of the rules of conduct prescribed by the court. No member, during the member's term of service, may hold office in any political party or political organization. Except for a judicial member, no member of the court, during the member's term of service, may hold a compensated public office or public appointment. All members of the court shall be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred in the discharge of their official duties.

(4) The court shall appoint staff and prepare and administer its own budget as provided by law and undertake actions needed to ensure its efficient operation. All actions of the court, including disciplinary action, shall require approval by a majority vote of the members of the court. The budget request of the court shall be made as a separate item in the request by the Supreme Court on behalf of the Judicial Branch to the General Assembly. The court shall adopt rules to govern the conduct of proceedings before the court.

(5) Upon the filing of formal charges with the court by the board, the court shall promptly schedule a hearing or hearings to determine whether a sanction should be imposed against a justice, judge or justice of the peace pursuant to the provisions of this section. The court shall be a court of record, with all the attendant duties and powers appropriate to its function. Formal charges filed with the court shall be a matter of public record. All hearings conducted by the court shall be public proceedings conducted pursuant to the rules adopted by the court and in accordance with the principles of due process and the law of evidence. Parties appearing before the court shall have a right to discovery pursuant to the rules adopted by the court and shall have the right to subpoena witnesses and to compel the production of documents, books, accounts and other records as relevant. The subject of the charges shall be presumed innocent in any proceeding before the court, and the board shall have the burden of proving the charges by clear and convincing evidence. All decisions of the court shall be in writing and shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law. A decision of the court may order removal from office, suspension, censure or other discipline as authorized by this section and as warranted by the record.

(6) Members of the court and the court's staff shall be absolutely immune from suit for all conduct in the course of their official duties, and no civil action or disciplinary complaint predicated on testimony before the court may be maintained against any witness or counsel.

(c) Decisions of the court shall be subject to review as follows:

(1) A justice, judge or justice of the peace shall have the right to appeal a final adverse order of discipline of the court. A judge or justice of the peace shall have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court in a manner consistent with rules adopted by the Supreme Court; a justice shall have the right to appeal to a special tribunal composed of seven judges, other than senior judges, chosen by lot from the judges of the Superior Court and Commonwealth Court who do not sit on the Court of Judicial Discipline or the board, in a manner consistent with rules adopted by the Supreme Court. The special tribunal shall hear and decide the appeal in the same manner in which the Supreme Court would hear and decide an appeal from an order of the court.

(2) On appeal, the Supreme Court or special tribunal shall review the record of the proceedings of the court as follows: on the law, the scope of review is plenary; on the facts, the scope of review is clearly erroneous; and, as to sanctions, the scope of review is whether the sanctions imposed were lawful. The Supreme Court or special tribunal may revise or reject an order of the court upon a determination that the order did not sustain this standard of review; otherwise, the Supreme Court or special tribunal shall affirm the order of the court.

(3) An order of the court which dismisses a complaint against a judge or justice of the peace may be appealed by the board to the Supreme Court, but the appeal shall be limited to questions of law. An order of the court which dismisses a complaint against a justice of the Supreme Court may be appealed by the board to a special tribunal in accordance with paragraph (1), but the appeal shall be limited to questions of law.

(4) No justice, judge or justice of the peace may participate as a member of the board, the court, a special tribunal or the Supreme Court in any proceeding in which the justice, judge or justice of the peace is a complainant, the subject of a complaint, a party or a witness.

(d) A justice, judge or justice of the peace shall be subject to disciplinary action pursuant to this section as follows:

(1) A justice, judge or justice of the peace may be suspended, removed from office or otherwise disciplined for conviction of a felony; violation of section seventeen of this article; misconduct in office; neglect or failure to perform the duties of office or conduct which prejudices the proper administration of justice or brings the judicial office into disrepute, whether or not the conduct occurred while acting in a judicial capacity or is prohibited by law; or conduct in violation of a canon or rule prescribed by the Supreme Court. In the case of a mentally or physically disabled justice, judge or justice of the peace, the court may enter an order of removal from office, retirement, suspension or other limitations on the activities of the justice, judge or justice of the peace as warranted by the record. Upon a final order of the court for suspension without pay or removal, prior to any appeal, the justice, judge or justice of the peace shall be suspended or removed from office; and the salary of the justice, judge or justice of the peace shall cease from the date of the order.

(2) Prior to a hearing, the court may issue an interim order directing the suspension, with or without pay, of any justice, judge or justice of the peace against whom formal charges have been filed with the court by the board or against whom has been filed an indictment or information charging a felony. An interim order under this paragraph shall not be considered a final order from which an appeal may be taken.

(3) A justice, judge or justice of the peace convicted of misbehavior in office by a court, disbarred as a member of the bar of the Supreme Court or removed under this section shall forfeit automatically his judicial office and thereafter be ineligible for judicial office.

(4) A justice, judge or justice of the peace who files for nomination for or election to any public office other than a judicial office shall forfeit automatically his judicial office.

(5) This section is in addition to and not in substitution for the provisions for impeachment for misbehavior in office contained in Article VI. No justice, judge or justice of the peace against whom impeachment proceedings are pending in the Senate shall exercise any of the duties of office until acquittal.

SCHEDULE TO JUDICIARY ARTICLE

This schedule is a part of this judiciary article, and it is intended that the provisions contained herein shall have the same force and effect as those contained in the numbered sections of the article. This article and schedule, unless otherwise stated herein, shall become effective on January 1, 1969. In this schedule where the word "now" appears it speaks from the date of adoption of this schedule; where the word "present" appears it speaks from the effective date hereof.

COURTS OTHER THAN IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA AND ALLEGHENY COUNTY

The Supreme Court
Section 1

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.

The Superior Court
Section 2

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.

Commonwealth Court
Section 3

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.

The Courts of Common Pleas
Section 4

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.

Orphans' Court Judges
Section 5

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.

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

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.

Community Courts
Section 7

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 and 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

Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace
Section 8

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

Associate Judges
Section 9

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

Retention Election of Present Justices and Judges
Section 10

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

Selection of President Judges
Section 11

(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 the 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

Magistrates, Aldermen and Justices of the Peace
Section 12

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.

Magisterial Districts
Section 13

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.

(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.

Magisterial Districts
Section 14

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

Prothonotaries, Clerks of Courts, Clerks of Orphans' Courts
Section 15

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

Courts and Judges
Section 16

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 the 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 of 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.

(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 hearings 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 the 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 exercised other than by the community court.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Courts
Section 17

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.

(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 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.

Judges
Section 18

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.

President Judges
Section 19

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.

President Judges; Court Division
Section 20

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

Inferior Courts
Section 21

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

Causes, Proceedings, Books and Records
Section 22

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

Judicial Qualifications Commission
Section 23

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.

Judicial Inquiry and Review Board

Judicial discipline

Section 24

(a) The members of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board shall vacate their offices 90 days after the adoption of the amendment to section 18 of this article, and all proceedings pending before the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board and all records shall be transferred to the Judicial Conduct Board for further proceedings.

(b) Of the members initially appointed to the Judicial Conduct Board, the judge appointed by the Supreme Court shall serve a four-year term, and the judge appointed by the Governor shall serve a three-year term. The justice of the peace initially appointed shall serve a two-year term. Of the three non-judge members of the bar of the Supreme Court initially appointed, the first appointed by the Governor shall serve a three-year term, the next appointed by the Governor shall serve a two-year term, and the non-judge member of the bar of the Supreme Court appointed by the Supreme Court shall serve a one-year term. Of the six non-lawyer electors initially appointed, the first appointed by the Governor and the first appointed by the Supreme Court shall serve a four-year term, the next appointed by the Governor and the next appointed by the Supreme Court shall serve a three-year term, and the next appointed by the Governor and the next appointed by the Supreme Court shall serve a two-year term.

(c) Of the three judges initially appointed to the Court of Judicial Discipline, the first appointed by the Supreme Court shall serve a four-year term, the next appointed by the Supreme Court shall serve a three-year term, and the judge appointed by the Governor shall serve a two-year term. The justice of the peace initially appointed shall serve a one-year term. Of the non-judge members of the bar initially appointed, the first appointed shall serve a four-year term, and the next appointed shall serve a three-year term. Of the two non-lawyer electors initially appointed, the non-lawyer elector appointed by the Governor shall serve a three-year term, and the non-lawyer elector appointed by the Supreme Court shall serve a two-year term.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Dispensing with Trial by Jury
Section 25

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.

Writs of Certiorari
Section 26

Unless and until changed by rule of the Supreme Court, in addition to the right of appeal 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.

Judicial Districts
Section 27

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

Referendum
Section 28

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.

Persons Specially Admitted by Local Rules
Section 29

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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