ASSIGNMENT AND TRANSFER OF JUDGES
Rule 701. Assignment of judges to courts.
(A) Conditions Applicable for the Certification of Senior Magisterial District Judges, Judges or Justices.
(1) To be eligible for senior certification, a magisterial district judge, judge or justice:
(a) shall have served as a magisterial district judge, judge or justice, whether or not continuously or on the same court, by election or appointment for an aggregate period equaling ten years;
(b) shall not have been defeated for reelection or retention; and
(c) shall be at least sixty-five years of age on the date on which he or she begins senior service, or have a combination of years of judicial service plus age that totals at least seventy for magisterial district judges or at least eighty for judges and justices. However, this subsection (c) shall not apply to those serving in senior status as of the effective date of this rule.
(2) In addition to paragraph (1), any duly elected magisterial district judge, judge or justice, having an aggregate of five years of judicial service, who is required to retire at age seventy, shall be eligible for certification.
(3) Senior status shall end on the last day of the calendar year in which a magisterial district judge, judge or justice attains age seventy-eight; however, those serving in senior status as of the effective date of this rule who were previously excepted from the age seventy-five limitation pursuant to the amendment of January 1, 1999 may continue to serve until the last day of the calendar year in which they attain age eighty.
(4) For certification of senior status, a magisterial district judge, judge or justice shall verify such additional information as required by the application for certification forms authorized under paragraph (B) below.
(5) A magisterial district judge, judge or justice may only be certified for senior status for a maximum of ten years, absent extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the Chief Justice. However, those serving in senior status as of the effective date of this rule may continue to serve until subject to the age limit of paragraph (3) above.
(6) Certification of a magisterial district judge, judge or justice for senior status shall be subject to the pleasure of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court at any time, in the exercise of its sole discretion, may rescind or revoke a senior certification.
Paragraph (6) was added in 2016 to clarify that certification of senior status is (and always has been) a matter that is subject to the pleasure of the Supreme Court.
(B) Certification of Senior Magisterial District Judges, Judges and Justices. The Administrative Office shall promulgate application forms, as approved by the Supreme Court, for certification of senior magisterial district judges, judges and justices. A former or retired magisterial district judge, judge or justice who requests assignment to temporary judicial service shall file the application for certification form with the Administrative Office, and, upon approval, shall be eligible for judicial assignment. Failure to comply with the provisions contained in the application form may result in the immediate revocation of senior certification.
(C) Request for the Assignment of Additional Magisterial District Judges or Judges.
(1) Request for Assignment. Whenever a president judge deems additional judicial assistance necessary for the prompt and proper disposition of court business, he or his proxy shall transmit a formal request for judicial assistance to the Administrative Office. The request may be made in writing or it may be transmitted electronically. An electronic request for judicial assistance shall be accomplished through a secure program developed by the Administrative Office for this purpose.
(2) Recommendation by the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania and Action by Chief Justice. Upon the recommendation of the Court Administrator, the Chief Justice may, by order, assign any retired, former, or active magisterial district judge, judge or justice to temporary judicial service on any court to fulfill a request by a president judge, or to reduce case inventories, or to serve the interest of justice. The order entered by the Chief Justice may be electronically transmitted to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts for processing. Orders entered pursuant to this chapter may be transmitted by the Administrative Office to the Supreme Court prothonotary in hard copy or electronically. Electronically transmitted orders shall be docketed by the Supreme Court prothonotary in the same manner as hard copy orders. Electronically transmitted orders need not be printed by the Supreme Court prothonotary unless a request for public review is made.
(3) Duration of Assignment. Unless otherwise provided in the order of assignment, the order shall continue in effect after its stated expiration date until unfinished business pending before the assigned judge is completed.
(4) Certification of Service. The president judge of a district to which a magisterial district judge or judge has been temporarily assigned under this rule shall certify to the Administrative Office, on a certificate completed and signed by the assigned magisterial district judge or judge, the number of days of temporary judicial service and the amount of any compensation to which the assigned judge is entitled.
(5) Expenses of Assigned Judges. All judges assigned to duties outside of their judicial districts may, in addition to any per diem payment authorized by law, be reimbursed with the approval of the Court Administrator for necessary expenses, including hotel accommodations and meals, incident to such duties.
(6) Restrictions on Temporary Assignments. No judge shall be assigned under this rule to any court while any judge thereof is assigned to another court under this rule, except when required to take the place of a judge who is recused or disqualified, or is otherwise unavailable, or under other appropriate circumstances.
The subject matter of former paragraph (7) (relating to ceremonial functions) is now governed by 23 Pa.C.S. § 1503(a)(2) (relating to persons qualified to solemnize marriages) (as amended by the Act of July 14, 2009 (P.L. 81, No. 18)) and 42 Pa.C.S. § 327 (relating to oaths and acknowledgments) (as amended by the Act of June 30, 2012 (P.L. 666, No. 79)).
(D) Judicial Assignment Records. The Administrative Office shall maintain records of certification applications and assignments to temporary judicial service.
(E) Regional Administrative Units.
(1) Judicial districts through their president judges may petition the Supreme Court for approval to combine with other districts to form regional administrative units that provide for the assignment of magisterial district judges and judges to any other judicial district in the unit. Upon annual approval by the Supreme Court, magisterial district judges and judges, when so assigned, shall exercise the same power and authority as vested in a magisterial district judge or judge of that judicial district.
(2) In cases where a judge has disqualified him or herself for any of the reasons specified in Rule 2.11 of the Code of Judicial Conduct or Rule 2.11 of the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges, the assignment of another judge to the case shall be made through the Administrative Office. In other instances of recusal, the assignment may be made through the Regional Unit, but in no case shall a recusing judge select his or her replacement.
(3) Each regional unit shall file with the Administrative Office a quarterly report of all assignments that occurred within the unit for that period.
(F) Suitable Facilities and Staffing for Senior Common Pleas Judges. Suitable facilities and adequate staff are to be provided for senior judges, the parameters of which are to be determined and promulgated by the Administrative Office.
Directive: In accordance with Rule of Judicial Administration 701(F), the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts promulgates this directive establishing minimum standards for suitable facilities and adequate staff for the senior judges of the courts of common pleas. The president judge of a judicial district, in consultation with the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania as needs may require, shall provide from available resources for each senior judge formerly of the judicial district who is regularly or periodically assigned in that district and for each visiting senior judge the following facilities and staff for matters arising under the appointment:
(1) the use of judicial chambers which shall be of adequate size and appropriately furnished, afford a measure of privacy, and include office equipment and supplies as are necessary to conduct judicial business;
(2) services of a law clerk who shall provide customary assistance including legal research and drafting of legal documents; and
(3) services of a secretary who shall provide customary assistance including typing correspondence, orders and opinions, answering phone calls and taking messages, receiving and sending mail and deliveries.
Supreme Court Rule 79 adopted effective Oct. 10, 1966; renumbered Rule 701 March 15, 1972; amended effective Feb. 20, 1975; June 10, 1975; Oct. 5, 1977, amended June 26, 1980, effective Aug. 2, 1980, amended effective April 29, 1998; Dec. 8, 1998, effective Jan. 1, 1999; amended April 18, 2002, effective January 6, 2003.
The provisions of this Rule 701 adopted and effective October 10, 1966; renumbered from Supreme Court Rule 79 by Order dated March 15, 1972; amended and effective Feb. 20, 1975; amended October 5, 1977, effective October 5, 1977, 7 Pa.B. 3056; amended August 1, 1980, effective August 2, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 3164; amended April 29, 1998, effective immediately, 28 Pa.B. 2283; amended December 8, 1998, effective January 1, 1999, 28 Pa.B. 6290; amended May 28, 1999, effective May 29, 1999, 29 Pa.B. 2766; amended April 18, 2002, effective January 6, 2003, 32 Pa.B. 2196; amended January 10, 2003, effective immediately 33 Pa.B. 634; amended November 20, 2007, effective immediately, 37 Pa.B. 6385; amended December 27, 2007, effective January 1, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 220; amended December 17, 2009, effective Janaury 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 19; amended June 10, 2013, effective immediately, 43 Pa.B. 3327; amended March 17, 2016, effective immediately, 46 Pa.B. 1781. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (367313) to (367316).
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