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§ 102. Definitions

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesTitle 42 Pa.C.S.A. Judiciary and Judicial ProcedureEffective: June 19, 2013

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Title 42 Pa.C.S.A. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure (Refs & Annos)
Part I. Preliminary Provisions
Chapter 1. General Provisions
Effective: June 19, 2013
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 102
§ 102. Definitions
Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent provisions of this title which are applicable to specific provisions of this title, the following words and phrases when used in this title shall have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section:
“Action.” Any action at law or in equity.
“Administrative judge.” The administrative judge of a division of a court, determined or selected as prescribed by general rule.
“Administrative Office.” The office of the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania as specified in section 1902 (relating to Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts).
“Administrative staff.” All individuals employed in the business of a court, including the personnel of the office of the clerk of the court of common pleas, but the term does not include judicial officers or their personal staff. The term includes the clerks or prothonotaries of the Supreme Court, the Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court and their staffs.
“Affidavit.” Includes an unsworn document containing statements of fact and a statement by the signatory that it is made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities).
“Appeal.” Any petition or other application to a court for review of subordinate governmental determinations. The term includes an application for certiorari under section 934 (relating to writs of certiorari) or under any other provision of law. Where required by the context, the term includes proceedings on petition for review.
“Appellate court.” Includes the Supreme Court, the Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court.
“Appointive judicial officers.” Arbitrators, auditors, commissioners to take oaths and depositions, custodians, examiners, guardians, masters, mental health review officers, receivers, referees, trustees, viewers and other like officers.
“Branch.” As applied to a court of common pleas in a multicounty judicial district, an administrative unit composed of those members of the staff of the court from a particular county within the judicial district.
“Central staff.” All individuals employed in the business of the unified judicial system, but the term does not include magisterial district judges or their personal staff or personnel of the courts.
“Clerk.” As applied to a court of common pleas or the Philadelphia Municipal Court, the personnel of the office of the clerk of the court of common pleas, and as applied to any other court, the administrative staff responsible for the receipt of documents transmitted to the court by litigants and the transmission of notice of orders entered by and process issued under the authority of the court.
“Clerk of the courts.” The officer exercising the powers and performing the duties specified in Subchapter C of Chapter 27 (relating to clerks of the courts).1 The term includes the Clerk of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia.
“Clerk of the orphans' court division.” The officer exercising the powers and performing the duties specified in Subchapter D of Chapter 27 (relating to clerks of orphans' court divisions).2
“Commonwealth agency.” Any executive agency or independent agency.
“Commonwealth Court.” The court existing under section 4 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and Subchapter C of Chapter 5 (relating to Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania).3
“Commonwealth government.” The government of the Commonwealth, including the courts and other officers or agencies of the unified judicial system, the General Assembly and its officers and agencies, the Governor, and the departments, boards, commissions, authorities and officers and agencies of the Commonwealth, but the term does not include any political subdivision, municipal or other local authority, or any officer or agency of any such political subdivision or local authority.
“Community court.” A court existing in a judicial district under section 6(a) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and Subchapter A of Chapter 11 (relating to community courts).4
“County.” Includes the City and County of Philadelphia.
“County staff.” System and related personnel elected by the electorate of a county or subject to appointment and removal by officers, other than judicial officers, so elected. The term does not include judicial officers.
“Court.” Includes any one or more of the judges of the court who are authorized by general rule or rule of court, or by law or usage, to exercise the powers of the court in the name of the court.
“Court Administrator of Pennsylvania.” The court administrator appointed by the Supreme Court under section 10(b) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and section 1901 (relating to Court Administrator of Pennsylvania).
“Court of common pleas.” The court existing in each judicial district under section 5 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and Chapter 9 (relating to organization and jurisdiction of courts of common pleas).5
“Determination.” Action or inaction by a government unit which action or inaction is subject to judicial review by a court under section 9 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania or otherwise. The term includes an order entered by a government unit.
“Division.” An administrative unit composed of those judges of the court responsible for the transaction of a specified class of the business of the court. In a court having two or more divisions each division of the court is vested with the full jurisdiction of the whole court, but the business of the court may be allocated among the divisions of the court by or pursuant to general rules.
“Executive agency.” The Governor and the departments, boards, commissions, authorities and other officers and agencies of the Commonwealth government, but the term does not include any court or other officer or agency of the unified judicial system, the General Assembly and its officers and agencies, or any independent agency.
“General rule.” A rule or order promulgated by the governing authority.
“Governing authority.”
(1) The Supreme Court; or
(2) any agency or unit of the unified judicial system exercising a power or performing a duty pursuant to section 1721 (relating to delegation of powers).
“Government agency.” Any Commonwealth agency or any political subdivision or municipal or other local authority, or any officer or agency of any such political subdivision or local authority.
“Government unit.” The General Assembly and its officers and agencies, any government agency or any court or other officer or agency of the unified judicial system.
“Independent agency.” Boards, commissions, authorities and other agencies and officers of the Commonwealth government which are not subject to the policy supervision and control of the Governor, but the term does not include any court or other officer or agency of the unified judicial system or the General Assembly and its officers and agencies. For purposes of jurisdiction of courts the term includes the Pennsylvania Deposit Insurance Corporation existing under the act of October 5, 1978 (P.L. 1088, No. 255), known as the “Pennsylvania Deposit Insurance Corporation Act.”6
“Indictable offense.” An offense other than a summary offense.
“Issuing authority.” Any judge or magisterial district judge of the minor judiciary, subject to the express limitations on jurisdiction specified in this title.
“Judge.” Includes a justice of the Supreme Court. Except with respect to the power to select a president or administrative judge, to appoint and remove the administrative staff of the court and to adopt rules of court and other similar matters, the term includes a senior judge.
“Judicial and related account.” The account required to be established upon the books of certain political subdivisions pursuant to section 3541 (relating to judicial and related account).
“Judicial branch.” The judicial branch specified in section 10(c) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
“Judicial Department.” A term utilized in appropriation statutes to distinguish judicial appropriations from other appropriations.
“Judicial district.” A district established by section 901 (relating to judicial districts) for the election of one or more judges of a court of common pleas.
“Judicial officers.” Judges, magisterial district judges and appointive judicial officers.
“Litigant.” A party or any other person legally concerned with the results of a matter.
“Magisterial district.” A district established within a judicial district pursuant to Subchapter A of Chapter 15 (relating to magisterial districts)7 for the election of a magisterial district judge.
“Magisterial district judge.” A justice of the peace holding office under section 7(a) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and Subchapter B of Chapter 15 (relating to magisterial district judges).8
“Matter.” Action, proceeding or appeal.
“Minor judiciary.” The community courts, magisterial district judges and Pittsburgh Magistrates Court.
“Office of the clerk of the court of common pleas.” A term employed in this title to refer generally to the administrative staff of the courts of common pleas and the Philadelphia Municipal Court responsible for the receipt of documents transmitted to the court by litigants and the transmission of notice of orders entered by and process issued under the authority of the court. The business of such staff shall be divided among the personnel of the offices of the prothonotary, the clerk of the courts and the clerk of the orphans' court division in the manner provided by or pursuant to Chapter 27 (relating to office of the clerk of the court of common pleas).9 Except as otherwise provided by statute, the term does not imply the unification of the administration, personnel or operations of any or all of such offices.
“Officer enforcing orders.” Includes:
(1) A recorder of deeds when the order affects the ownership of an interest in property described or describable by a document which has been or may be filed or recorded in his office, or relates to the indexing of documents filed or recorded in his office.
(2) A register of wills.
(3) A sheriff.
“Order.” Includes judgment, decision, decree, sentence and adjudication.
“Participant.” Litigants, witnesses and their counsel.
“Party.” A person who commences or against whom relief is sought in a matter. The term includes counsel for such a person who is represented by counsel.
“Personal staff.” Private secretaries, law clerks and such other personnel as an individual may be authorized by law to select and remove subject to standards and classifications established by the governing authority.
“Personnel of the court.” The judges and staff of the court.
“Personnel of the system.” Judicial officers, personal staff, administrative staff and central staff.
“Philadelphia Municipal Court.” The municipal court existing under section 6(c) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and Subchapter B of Chapter 11 (relating to Philadelphia Municipal Court)10 so long as a community court has not been established or in the event one has been discontinued in the City and County of Philadelphia.
“Pittsburgh Magistrates Court.” The court existing under Subchapter C of Chapter 11 (relating to Pittsburgh Magistrates Court).11
“President judge.” The president judge of a court determined or selected as provided or as prescribed by law.
“Proceeding.” Includes every declaration, petition or other application which may be made to a court under law or usage or under special statutory authority, but the term does not include an action or an appeal.
“Process.” A document evidencing a command of a court or of a magisterial district judge.
“Prothonotary.” The officer exercising the powers and performing the duties specified in Subchapter B of Chapter 27 (relating to prothonotaries).12
“Quasi-judicial order.” An order of a government unit, made after notice and opportunity for hearing, which is by law reviewable solely upon the record made before the government unit, and not upon a record made in whole or in part before the reviewing court. This definition has no application to the definition of “tribunal.”
“Related staff.” All individuals employed at public expense who serve the unified judicial system, but the term does not include personnel of the system.
“Rule of court.” A rule promulgated by a court regulating practice or procedure before the promulgating court.
“Section.” An administrative unit of the administrative staff of the court composed of those persons responsible for the support of a class of the business of the court specified by law.
“Senior magisterial district judge.” A former or retired magisterial district judge who retires or otherwise vacates office after January 1, 1970, who has served at least one complete six year elected term as a magisterial district judge, and who, with his consent, is assigned on temporary magisterial service pursuant to section 4122(b) (relating to assignment of senior magisterial district judges).
“Senior judge.” A former or retired judge who shall not have been defeated for reelection and shall have served as a judge (whether or not continuously or on the same court) by election or appointment for an aggregate of at least ten years and any duly elected judge having an aggregate of six years of service as a judge who is required to retire at age 70 and who, with his consent, is assigned on temporary judicial service pursuant to section 4121(b) (relating to assignment of judges).
“Staff of the court.” Appointive judicial officers, the administrative staff and personal staff of the court.
“State.” When used in reference to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other organized territories and possessions of the United States.
“State Law Library.” The Law Library Bureau of the State Library of Pennsylvania.
“Superior Court.” The court existing under section 3 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and Subchapter B of Chapter 5 (relating to Superior Court of Pennsylvania).13
“Supreme Court.” The court existing under section 2 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and Subchapter A of Chapter 5 (relating to Supreme Court of Pennsylvania).14
“System.” The unified judicial system.
“System and related personnel.” Personnel of the system and related staff. The term includes district attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs and other officers serving process or enforcing orders, registers of wills, prothonotaries, clerks of the courts, clerks of the orphans' court division, coroners, jury commissioners, probation officials, and the personnel of all of the foregoing.
“Traffic Court of Philadelphia.” Any of the following:
(1) The Traffic Division under section 1121(c) (relating to Philadelphia Municipal Court). This paragraph includes the predecessor of the Traffic Division.
(2) The Traffic Court of Philadelphia under section 1321(b) (relating to Traffic Court of Philadelphia). This paragraph includes the predecessor of the Traffic Court of Philadelphia.
“Tribunal.” A court, magisterial district judge or other judicial officer vested with the power to enter an order in a matter. The term includes a government unit, other than the General Assembly and its officers and agencies, when performing quasi-judicial functions.
“Unified judicial system.” The unified judicial system existing under section 1 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and section 301 (relating to unified judicial system).
“Verified.” Includes an unsworn document containing a statement by the signatory that is made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities).

Credits

1976, July 9, P.L. 586, No. 142, § 2, effective June 27, 1978. Amended 1978, April 28, P.L. 202, No. 53, § 10(1), effective June 27, 1978; 1979, July 20, P.L. 157(a), No. 52, § 1, effective in 60 days; 1980, Oct. 5, P.L. 693, No. 142, §§ 214, 501(a), effective in 60 days. 1982, Dec. 20, P.L. 1409, No. 326, art. II, § 201, effective in 60 days; 1984, Oct. 12, P.L. 959, No. 187, § 1, effective in 60 days; 1990, Nov. 29, P.L. 574, No. 147, § 1, effective in 60 days. Affected 1992, July 9, P.L. 689, No. 102, § 3, imd. effective. Amended 2004, Nov. 30, P.L. 1618, No. 207, § 11, effective in 60 days [Jan. 31, 2005]; 2009, Aug. 11, P.L. 147, No. 33, § 1, effective in 60 days [Oct. 13, 2009]; 2013, June 19, P.L. 55, No. 17, § 1, imd. effective.
BAR ASSOCIATION COMMENT
New. The definitions utilized in this section which are not explained in 101 Pa.Code §§ 23.221 et seq. are related as follows:
System and related personnel
Related staff
Personnel of the system
Judicial officers
--Judges
--District justices
--Appointive judicial officers
Personal staff
Administrative staff
Central staff
Personnel of the court
Judges
Staff of the court
Personal staff
Administrative staff
Appointive judicial officers
1978 Amendment: “Appointive judicial officers”: Derived from act of July 9, 1976 (P.L. 817, No. 143), § 109 (50 P.S. § 7109). “Officers enforcing orders”: Generalization of act of May 1, 1919 (P.L. 100, No. 76) (16 P.S. § 9601), act of April 3, 1860 (P.L. 630, No. 550), § 1 (21 P.S. § 796 et seq.) and act of June 15, 1871 (P.L. 387, No. 356), § 2 (17 P.S. § 1909) relating to court supervision of the recording and indexing of documents. “Register of Wills”: To give effect to the existing intermingling of statutory provisions relating to the register of wills and clerk of the orphans' court division, e.g. under 20 Pa.C.S. § 909 the separate orphans' court division fixed the fees of the register, but in practice these fee bills have been consolidated with the fee bill for the clerk fixed under 20 Pa.C.S. § 743. 42 Pa.C.S. § 1725 will therefor clearly apply also to the fees of the register and thus supply 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 743 and 909. “Senior district justice”: Derived from act of July 15, 1976, (P.L. 1014, No. 204), § 205 (42 P.S. § 2205).
HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES
Act 1976-142 legislation
Section 29(2) of 1976, July 9, P.L. 586, No. 142, which section took effect immediately, provides:
“42 Pa.C.S. § 1725 (relating to establishment of fees and charges) and 42 Pa.C.S. § 503(b) (relating to procedures), in so far as applicable to 42 Pa.C.S. § 1725, and section 24(a), (d) and (e) of this act and 42 Pa.C.S. § 102 (relating to definitions), in so far as applicable to all of the foregoing shall take effect January 1, 1977.”
Act 1978-53 legislation
Section 4(c) of 1978, April 28, P.L. 202, No. 53, the Judiciary Act Repealer Act [42 P.S. § 20004(c) ], provides:
“As used in section 2 of this act [42 P.S. § 20002] the term ‘immediately’ means on the general effective date of this act and not the date of enactment of this act.”
Act 1979-52 legislation
Section 8 of 1979, July 20, P.L. 157, No. 52, provides:
“The provisions of this amendatory act shall not affect any act done, liability or cost incurred or right accrued or vested or affect any suit or prosecution pending or to be instituted to enforce any right or penalty or punish any offense under the authority of any statutory provisions amended by this act.”
Act 1990-147 legislation
Act 1990--147, § 1, in the definition of “officer enforcing orders” added par. (4).
Act 1990-147 was declared unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in In re Act 147 of 1990, 528 Pa. 460, 598 A.2d 985 (1991).
Act 1990-147 was repealed by 1992, July 9, P.L. 689, No. 102, § 3, imd. effective. Pursuant to 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1956 (relating to repeal of amendatory statutes and original statutes subsequently amended), the definition of “officer enforcing orders” was not changed to give effect to this repeal. In 2007, the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau directed that the 1992 repeal be effectuated in the text of 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 102. Accordingly, in the definition of “officer enforcing orders”, par. (4) was deleted, which read:
“(4) A constable or deputy constable while actually engaged in the performance of judicial duties as defined in section 2941 (relating to definitions).”
Act 2004-207 legislation
Act 2004-207, § 11, amended the section to reflect the redesignation of district justices as magisterial district judges.
Section 28 of 2004, Nov. 30, P.L. 1618, No. 207, effective Jan. 31, 2005, provides that “[t]his act shall apply as follows:
“(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2), any and all references in any other law to a ‘district justice’ or ‘justice of the peace’ shall be deemed to be references to a magisterial district judge.
“(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the provisions of 71 Pa.C.S.”
Act 2009-33 legislation
Act 2009-33, § 1, in the definition of “process”, substituted “magisterial district judge” for “district justice”.
Act 2013-17 legislation
Act 2013-17, § 1, in the definition of “minor judiciary”, deleted reference to the Traffic Court of Philadelphia; and rewrote the definition of “Traffic Court of Philadelphia”, which prior thereto read:
“ ‘Traffic Court of Philadelphia.’ The traffic court existing under section 6(c) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and Subchapter B of Chapter 13 (relating to Traffic Court of Philadelphia) so long as a community court has not been established or in the event one has been discontinued in the City and County of Philadelphia.”
Prior Laws:
1976, July 15, P.L. 1014, No. 204, § 205 (42 P.S. § 2205).
1975, Oct. 7, P.L. 368, No. 103, § 1.
1970, July 31, P.L. 673, No. 223, art. I, § 102 (17 P.S. § 211.102).
1968, Dec. 2, P.L. 1137, No. 355, § 2 (42 P.S. § 3002).
1966 Special Sess. No. 1, Aug. 31, P.L. 47, No. 3, § 7 (17 P.S. § 790.107).
1959, Oct. 21, P.L. 1337, § 1.
1956, March 15, P.L. (1955) 1279, § 1.
1955, Aug. 9, P.L. 323, § 1105 (16 P.S. § 1105).
1953, July 28, P.L. 723, art. XI, § 1105 (16 P.S. § 4105).
1952, Jan. 14, P.L. (1951) 2087, § 4.
1937, July 1, P.L. 2663, § 1 (19 P.S. § 14).
1929, May 2, P.L. 1278, art. III, § 175.
1913, May 29, P.L. 386, § 1.
1911, June 23, P.L. 1123, § 3.
1879, June 4, P.L. 84, § 1 (17 P.S. § 1746).
1876, April 28, P.L. 52, § 1 (17 P.S. § 1770).
1873, March 26, P.L. 48, § 1 (17 P.S. § 1772).
1861, May 1, P.L. 578, § 1 (17 P.S. § 1766).
1858, April 16, P.L. 313, § 1 (17 P.S. § 1765).
1857, March 11, P.L. 76, No. 91.
1856, May 13, P.L. 567, §§ 19, 20, 21.
1855, April 26, P.L. 315, § 1.
1855, April 26, P.L. 314, No. 329.
1848, April 11, P.L. 506, § 4 (17 P.S. § 1745).
1846, April 14, P.L. 328, § 3 (17 P.S. § 1762).
1836, June 16, P.L. 715, §§ 19, 27 (5 P.S. §§ 44, 71).
1836, June 13, P.L. 568, § 84 (12 P.S. § 363).

Footnotes

42 Pa.C.S.A. § 2751 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 2771 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 561 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 1101 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 901 et seq.
7 P.S. § 6451 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 1501 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 1501 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 2701 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 1121 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 1141 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 2731 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 541 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 501 et seq.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 102, PA ST 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 102
Current through 2018 Regular Session Act 164 (End)
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