Pennsylvania Court System

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The Pennsylvania Court System is the judicial branch of the government. In the State of Pennsylvania, there are both federal and state courts, and they all have different jurisdictions. These courts can hear cases involving different matters, federal versus state laws being the most commonly dealt with matters.

As a side note, you should remember that the United States Supreme Court relies on the activity of the Chief Justice of the United States and of 8 associate justices. The Supreme Court is responsible for hearing a limited number of cases on a yearly basis. These cases would be initiated in the federal or the state courts; they relate to essential matters of the Constitution or the federal law. By visiting this link here, you will be able to find out more about the Supreme Court. The PA Court of Appeals hears appeals from district courts placed within the PA circuit and those pertaining to federal administrative agencies. Also, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has nationwide jurisdiction and it can therefore hear appeals of major cases.

As for the Pennsylvania state court system, it is divided into special courts, the Court of Common Pleas, the Commonwealth Court, the Superior Court and of course the Supreme Court. The District Magistrates or District Justices courts are responsible for hearing those cases that are considered to be less serious. Less serious or minor cases refer to non-jury criminal, civil, or traffic-related cases. The same courts also handle matters concerning bails and bailout procedures.

As for the Court of Common Pleas, this court hears all major criminal and civil cases, as well as appeals from the District Magistrates or District Justices cases, that are of civil or criminal nature. It also handles traffic conflicts. Children and family-related matters are also being dealt with over here.

The Commonwealth Court hears civil cases that have been brought by and against the PA Commonwealth. It is also responsible for the resolution of appeals pertaining to state agency decisions and those belonging to Courts of Common Pleas. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is considered to be the highest judicial authority in the state of Pennsylvania. It is a 7-member court and it hears matter such as discretionary appeals from the Superior Court and Commonwealth courts. Its work also revolves around the hearing of direct appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas; in the cases that have been clearly specified by statute. It deals with all the appeals from cases where death-penalty has been sentenced and also of direct appeals from the Commonwealth Court. The Supreme Court is entitled to hear a case from any level under certain circumstances. Recently, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has taken up new regulations for indicting grand juries. These new rules and regulations come to improve the safety of case witnesses.

Minor courts are also referred to as “special courts” and they are the first level of Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System. These courts are presided over by magisterial district judges who get to decide small claims such as disputes between landlords and tenants, traffic cases and some minor criminal matters, except for cases from Philadelphia. You might also want to know that there are 544 magisterial district judges in community courts throughout the entire Commonwealth. They do not need to be lawyers, but they however do need to undergo legal training and also undergo legal education programs. Speaking of Philadelphia here, the minor courts consist of the Municipal Court and the Traffic Court. Each of these courts has their own elected judges.

The Supreme Court on the other hand is supported by a number of boards, committees and commissions. There are more than 180 appointed, unpaid lawyers and non-lawyers who are working towards the goals of the Supreme Court. Also, the panels have the right to make recommendations for certain court amendments and they can make revisions or simplify court procedures. Some of these panels might also regulate the law practice, supervise legal education and even manage funds.