Rule 103. Procedure for adoption, filing and publishing rules.
(a) Notice of proposed rulemaking.
(1) Except as provided in subdivision (3), the initial recommendation of a proposed Rule, or proposed Rule amendment (including the explanatory note that is to accompany the Rule) shall be distributed by the proposing Rules Committee to the Pennsylvania Bulletin for publication therein. The publication notification shall contain a statement to the effect that comments regarding the proposed Rule are invited and should be sent directly to the proposing Rules Committee within a specified period of time.
(2) Written comments, suggestions or objections relating to the proposed Rule shall be sent directly to the proposing Rules Committee within a specified number of days after the Rules publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, and any such commentary shall be reviewed by the said Committee prior to action on the proposal by the Supreme Court. Any further proposals which are based upon the commentary so received need not be, but may be, published in the manner prescribed herein.
(3) A proposed rule may be promulgated even though it has not been previously distributed and published in the manner required by subdivisions (1) and (2), where exigent circumstances require the immediate adoption of the proposal; or where the proposed amendment is of a typographical or perfunctory nature; or where in the discretion of the Supreme Court such action is otherwise required in the interests of justice or efficient administration.
(b) Rules adopted by Supreme Court.
(1) Rules adopted by the Supreme Court shall be filed in the office of the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court and in the Administrative Office.
(2) After an order adopting a rule has been filed with the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court, the Prothonotary shall forward a certified copy of the order and rule to:
(i) The publisher of the official version of Supreme Court decisions and opinions who shall cause it to be printed in the first available volume of the State Reports.
(ii) The prothonotaries or clerks of all courts which may be affected thereby, and thereupon the order and rule shall be published by such prothonotaries or clerks in the same manner as local rules adopted by such courts.
(iii) The Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
(iv) The Administrative Office.
(c) Rules adopted by other courts and by agencies of the system.
(1) As used in this subdivision, rule shall include every rule, administrative order, regulation, directive, policy, custom, usage, form, or order of general application, however labeled or promulgated, which is adopted or enforced by a court, council, committee, board, commission or other agency of the unified judicial system to govern practice or procedure but shall not include a rule of civil, domestic relations, criminal, or juvenile procedure.
(2) Rules shall not be inconsistent with any general rule of the Supreme Court or any Act of Assembly.
(3) When rule under this subdivision corresponds to a statewide rule, the rule shall be given a number that is keyed to the number of the statewide rule.
(4) All rules shall be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin to be effective and enforceable.
(i) The adopting court or agency shall distribute two certified paper copies of the rule and a copy of the rule on a computer diskette or on a CD-ROM that complies with the requirements of 1 Pa. Code§ 13.11(b) to the Legislative Reference Bureau, or agreed upon alternate format, for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
(ii) The effective date of the rule shall not be less than 30 days after the date of publication of the rule in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
(5) Contemporaneously with publishing the rule in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the adopting court or agency shall file one certified copy of the rule with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. The Administrative Office shall assign a serial number to the rule, and shall note on the rule the serial number and the date of filing. A copy of the rule shall be available for public inspection and copying immediately upon filing.
(6) The rules shall be kept continuously available for public inspection and copying in the office of the prothonotary or clerk of courts of the adopting court. Upon request and payment of reasonable costs of reproduction and mailing, the prothonotary or clerk shall furnish to any person a copy of any rule.
(7) No pleading or other legal paper shall be refused for filing by the prothonotary or clerk of courts based on a requirement of a rule. No case shall be dismissed nor request for relief granted or denied because of failure to comply with a rule. In any case of noncompliance with a rule, the court shall alert the party to the specific provision at issue and provide a reasonable time for the party to comply with the rule.
The caption or other words used as a label or designation shall not determine whether something is or establishes a rule; if the definition in paragraph (c)(1) of this rule is satisfied, the matter is a rule regardless of what it may be called. The provisions of this rule also are intended to apply to any amendments to a rule. Nothing in this rule is intended to apply to case-specific orders.
Pursuant to paragraph (c)(1), local rules of civil, domestic relations, criminal, and juvenile procedure are not included within the scope of this rule. The procedures for adopting, filing, and publishing local rules of criminal, juvenile, domestic relations and civil procedure are governed by Rule of Criminal Procedure 105, Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure 121 and 1121, and Rules of Civil Procedure 239, 239.8 and 239.9.
To simplify the use of rules, paragraph (c)(3) requires rules to be given numbers that are keyed to the number of the general rules to which the rules correspond. This requirement is not intended to apply to rules that govern general business of the court or agency and which do not correspond to a statewide rule.
To further facilitate the statewide practice of law and accessibility by the public, the adopting court or agency should post and update its rules on its website.
Paragraph (c)(4) requires the rule to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin to be effective. Pursuant to 1 Pa. Code § 13.11(b)(f), any documents that are submitted for publication must be accompanied by a diskette or CD-ROM formatted in MS-DOS, ASCII, Microsoft Word, or WordPerfect. The diskette or CD-ROM must be labeled with the courts or agencys name and address and the rules computer file name. Section 13.11(e) provides that documents may be accepted in an alternate format if it is requested by the court or agency and agreed upon by the Legislative Reference Bureau.
Although under paragraph (c)(4)(ii) a rule shall not be effective until at least 30 days after the date of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, when a situation arises that requires immediate action, the court or agency may act by specific orders governing particular matters in the interim before an applicable rule becomes effective.
Paragraph (c)(5) requires one copy of the rule to be filed with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. When rules are forwarded to the Administrative Office, the adopting court or agency should indicate whether the rules have been distributed to the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and, if appropriate, submitted to the Criminal, Juvenile, Domestic Relations or Civil Procedural Rules Committees pursuant to their respective rules.
The Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts maintains a website containing local court rules at: http://www.pacourts.us/courts/supreme-court/committees/rules-committees/local-rules-for-common-pleas-and-magisterial-district-courts/
The Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts also maintains a website containing all local criminal rules adopted or amended after February 1, 2009, local juvenile rules, and local civil rules adopted pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 239.8 and 239.9 at: http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/localrules/ruleselection.aspx
The provisions of this Rule 103 adopted and effective January 13, 1972; amended and effective May 10, 1973, 3 Pa.B. 921; renumbered from Supreme Court Rule 85 by Order dated March 15, 1972; amended and effective April 21, 1978, 8 Pa.B. 1271; amended October 10, 1979, effective October 20, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 3509; amended January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983, 13 Pa.B. 676; amended February 20, 2001, effective April 1, 2001, 31 Pa.B. 1319; amended May 14, 2013, effective in 30 days, 43 Pa.B. 2988. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (332066) to (332068).
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