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The Pennsylvania Court System

 

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The Pennsylvania Court System ranges from a foundation that consists of minor courts, up to the Commonwealth’s Supreme Court.

  • Minor and special courts are the first level of Pennsylvania’s courts. These include Municipal Courts. Presided over by magisterial judges, municipal court judges and traffic court judges, these are the courts you appear in for non-jury criminal cases, civil cases and traffic cases. You will also go before these courts for preliminary arraignments and preliminary hearings.
  • Courts of Common Pleas are the general trial courts. These are the courts that handle jury trials.
  • Superior Court is a statewide appellate court. Presided over by a panel of judges, these courts hear appeals in criminal and most civil cases.
  • Commonwealth Court is unique to Pennsylvania. It is responsible for legal matters involving state and local governments and regulatory agencies.
  • The Supreme Court is the highest court in the Commonwealth. Seven justices preside.