Using the Courts

People who come into court deserve to understand what is happening. Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts gives Pennsylvanians the resources they need to navigate the court system.


PA Court System

Pennsylvania’s courts have the power to impact significantly the lives of all Pennsylvanians. Most obviously, when persons or entities are litigants, a court’s decisions affect them directly. However, court decisions and rulings apply generally to all of us, even if we are not directly involved in a case.

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PA Judges

To be a judge on most Pennsylvania courts, one must be 21 years old, a PA-licensed lawyer and a PA resident. Becoming a judge requires running for election under a party label, seeking endorsements, raising funds, currying favor with special interest groups and actively campaigning for votes. Judges on all courts except the Minor Courts, are elected for ten year terms, after which they may stand for retention in non-partisan yes/no votes every ten years until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70.

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Help for Court Users

Encountering the court system as a litigant, witness or juror can be confusing and stressful. PMC serves as a clearinghouse of information about the courts and works to ensure that all Pennsylvanians can come to our courts free of fear and confusion. We do this by:

  • Answering questions about what to expect in court;
  • Providing information about the operations of the court system, including resources available to litigants, such as interpreter services;
  • Producing pamphlets about the court system, jury duty and the judicial discipline system;
  • Providing guidance about the responsibilities of jurors;
  • Explaining how to file complaints about the conduct of judges or attorneys; and
  • Offering educational programs for the public.


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Complaining About Judges and Lawyers

To read PMC's Report and recommendations for improving the Judicial Discipline System, click here.

Unfortunately, litigants sometimes feel they have been dealt with unfairly or improperly by lawyers or judges. There are systems in place to address misconduct or unethical behavior by judges and lawyers.

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