Pennsylvania state court system

Understanding how the system of Pennsylvania state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

Pennsylvania Courts Overview

To make your work easier, start searching for court records in Pennsylvania by simply going to courts by county.

The trial court system of Pennsylvania State consists of Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Philadelphia Municipal Court, Magistrate District Courts, and Courts of Common Pleas.

Courts of Common Pleas

Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas have general jurisdiction to handle all types of cases, but typically handle only those cases that other courts have no jurisdiction over.

Criminal cases generally handled by these courts include lesser-included offenses and felonies. Civil cases handled by these courts include general civil claims of any disputed amount. Besides, they also handle delayed birth certificates, adoptions, juvenile matters, domestic relations, some arbitration reviews and appeals of decisions from some administrative agencies.

All Court of Common Pleas have Orphans’ Court divisions for handling estates, termination of parental rights, trusts, guardianships, adoptions, wills and trusts. They may also have a Domestic Relations Section and a Family Court than hears spousal and child support and other related matters.

They may also exercise jurisdiction over certain types of cases that are beyond the jurisdiction limit of traffic courts and municipal courts. This is true with the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, which also share jurisdiction to handle small claims cases.

Magistrate District Courts

Pennsylvania Magistrate District Courts have general jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases.

Criminal cases typically handled by these courts include certain DUI cases, most preliminary hearings, most summery offenses, some ordinance violations, and certain third-degree misdemeanors.

Civil cases typically handled by these courts include some general civil claims of specified financial limits and certain landlord-tenant cases. These courts cannot handle cases against or brought by the State.

Philadelphia Municipal Court

This court has limited jurisdiction to handle certain types of traffic, criminal, and civil cases within the territorial borders of the County and city of Philadelphia.

Criminal case heard by the Philadelphia Municipal Court include most summery offenses, preliminary hearings, some motor vehicle offenses, and offenses that have potential punishment of less than 5 years of incarceration. It doesn’t offer jury trials. However, it may conduct a jury trial if a request is made and granted for a new trial.

Civil case heard by this court include certain local tax matters that involve less than $15,000, breech of contracts, landlord-tenant cases, actions to stop certain nuisances, and some general civil claims with less than $10,000.

The Philadelphia Municipal Court shares limited jurisdiction with the Court of Common Pleas.

Pittsburg Municipal Court

This court hears certain types of traffic, criminal and housing cases. Criminal cases generally handled by this court include traffic offenses, summery offenses, violations of certain city ordinances, and preliminary hearings for all criminal cases that take place in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Municipal Court can also hear cases for Emergency Protection.

The Official Website of Pennsylvania County

Philadelphia City of Philadelphia Official website of the City of Philadelphia, includes information on municipal services, permits, licenses, and records for citizens and businesses.
Pittsburgh City of Pittsburgh – Announcements, Special Events, Press Releases, City Permits, Careers, Pay your taxes, view Burgh’s Eye View and more!
Allentown City of Allentown – PA – Official Site
Erie Erie, PA – A Community of Choice
Reading City of Reading, Pennsylvania
Scranton Scranton, Pennsylvania – Licensing, Inspections & Permits
Bethlehem City of Bethlehem
Lancaster City of Lancaster
Bensalem Bensalem Township Bensalem Township Municipal Government
Harrisburg HarrisburgPA.gov | The official website for the City of Harrisburg View the latest news and updates from the City of Harrisburg. Find documents, browse careers or request support services for various city resources.
Altoona City of Altoona
York City of York, Pennsylvania
Williamsport City of Williamsport – The Birthplace of Little League Baseball
Easton Welcome to the City of Easton – Northampton County, Pennsylvania
Lebanon Lebanon
Philadelphia County Official Website of the Philadelphia City Commissioners The Philadelphia City Commissioners are a three member bipartisan board of elected officials in charge of elections and voter registration for the City of Philadelphia.
Allegheny County Allegheny County | Always Inspiring Elite Video Player
Montgomery County Montgomery County, PA – Official Website
Bucks County The Official Site of Bucks County
Delaware County Delaware County PA
Lancaster County Lancaster County, PA – Official Website
Chester County Chester County, PA – Official Website
York County York County, Pennsylvania Quick & easy access to information about York County, Pa. agencies, programs and services. General hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Berks County Berks County
Westmoreland County Westmoreland County, PA – Official Website
Lehigh Countyt Lehigh County
Luzerne County Luzerne County, PA | Official Website
Northampton County Northampton County
Erie County Erie County Pennsylvania Official site of Erie County, PA government. Includes property assessment information, online jury summons, and a directory of elected officials and…
Dauphin County Welcome to Dauphin County, PA Welcome to Dauphin County, PA
Cumberland County Cumberland County, PA – Official Website Cumberland County, Pennsylvania official website for county government information, news and events
Lackawanna County Lackawanna County
Washington County Washington County, PA – Official Website
Butler County Butler County, PA 3
Beaver County Beaver County Official Site
Monroe County Monroe County
Centre County Centre County, PA – Official Website
Franklin County Franklin County, PA
Schuylkill County Schuylkill County Government
Cambria County Cambria County PA