The Court of Common Pleas is the state of Pennsylvania's official trial courts of general jurisdiction. These courts have initial jurisdiction over all the cases that are not exclusively assigned to another court, and appellate jurisdiction over judgments from minor courts (like the Philadelphia Municipal Court, the Pittsburgh Municipal Court, and magisterial district courts in all other counties). Common Pleas Courts are organized into 60 judicial districts across the state. Among these courts is one in the region of Philadelphia, known as Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.
The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County hears and handles all the county's major civil and criminal trials. Within this court are several divisions, including Juvenile Court, Family Court, and Orphans' Court.
Trial Division: Civil Section
The Trial Division Civil Section has jurisdiction over any civil claim for an amount that exceeds $10,000. Twenty-nine commissioned judges are assigned to civil programs. The variety of civil actions that can possibly be brought in this section include negligence, contract claims, and equity action.
Every major civil case that comes before a jury must first encounter a Mandatory Settlement Conferences for alternative resolution options. Parties that file civil actions that involve an amount $50,000 or less (excluding equitable action claims to real estate) must appeal before an arbitration hearing overseen by several attorneys.
The Civil Section is located at Philadelphia City Hall. For general information about the court, or if you have questions about your claim, call (215) 686-7000.
Trial Division: Criminal Section
The Trial Division Criminal Section has jurisdiction over all felony cases and appeals that came from the Philadelphia Municipal Court for a “trial de novo” (new trial). This court grants parties the right to a jury trial. This division handles cases that involve homicide, capital PCRA, and other felony crimes. Also included in this division are Pretrial Services and The Probation Department.
The Criminal Justice Center is located at 1301 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. For questions about this division, of information regarding a case, call (215) 683-7517.
The Orphans' division is intended to protect the personal and property rights of individuals who are incapable of doing so themselves. Matters concerning minors, incapacitated persons, bereaved families estates, trusts, and non-profit corporations are settled here.
The Orphans' Division is located in Philadelphia City Hall like the civil section. For general information about this division, call (215) 686-2231.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you've been charged with a misdemeanor or felony criminal offense, or have been issued a traffic citation, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the system. Joseph D. Lento worked for the Philadelphia court system while attending Temple University's Beasley School of Law at night and he understands the system like no other. He has extensive experience representing clients who maneuver through the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and also Philadelphia Municipal Court. Because of his skill and experience, he's helped countless clients obtain favorable outcomes. Contact him today online or by phone at (215) 535-5355 for help.