Rule 1501. Scope of Chapter.
(a) General rule.Except as otherwise prescribed by Subdivisions (b) and (c) of this rule, this chapter applies to:
(1) Appeals from an administrative agency (within the meaning of Section 9 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania) to an appellate court.
(2) Appeals to an appellate court pursuant to 2 Pa.C.S. § 702 (appeals), 42 Pa.C.S. § 5105 (right to appellate review) or any other statute providing for judicial review of a determination of a government unit.
(3) Original jurisdiction actions heretofore cognizable in an appellate court by actions in the nature of equity, replevin, mandamus or quo warranto or for declaratory judgment, or upon writs of certiorari or prohibition.
(4) Matters designated by general rule, e.g., review of orders refusing to certify interlocutory orders for immediate appeal, release prior to sentence, appeals under Section 17(d) of Article II of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and review of special prosecutions or investigations.
(b) Appeals governed by other provisions of rules.This chapter does not apply to any appeal within the scope of:
(1) Chapter 9 (appeals from lower courts).
(2) Chapter 11 (appeals from Commonwealth Court and Superior Court).
(3) Chapter 13 (interlocutory appeals by permission), except that the provisions of this chapter and ancillary provisions of these rules applicable to practice and procedure on petition for review, so far as they may be applied, shall be applicable: (a) where required by the Note to Rule 341 and the Note to Rule 1311; and (b) after permission to appeal has been granted from a determination which, if final, would be subject to judicial review pursuant to this chapter.
(4) Rule 1941 (review of death sentences).
(c) Unsuspended statutory procedures.This chapter does not apply to any appeal pursuant to the following statutory provisions, which are not suspended by these rules:
(1) Section 137 of Title 15 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Court to pass upon rejection of documents by Department of State).
(2) The Pennsylvania Election Code.
(d) Jurisdiction of courts unaffected.This chapter does not enlarge or otherwise modify the jurisdiction and powers of the Commonwealth Court or any other court.
This chapter applies to review of any determination of a government unit as defined in Rule 102 assuming, of course, that the subject matter of the case is within the jurisdiction of a court subject to these rules (see Subdivision (d) of this rule). A determination means 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. The term government unit is all inclusive and means the Governor and the departments, boards, commissions, officers, authorities and other agencies of the Commonwealth, including the General Assembly and its officers and agencies and any court or other officer or agency of the unified judicial system, and any political subdivision or municipal or other local authority or any officer or agency of any such political subdivision or local authority. The term includes a board of arbitrators whose determination is subject to review under 42 Pa.C.S. § 763(b) (awards of arbitrators). The term administrative agency is not defined in these rules, although the term is used in these rules as a result of its appearance in Section 9 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
Subdivision (a)(4) was added in 2004 to recognize the references in various appellate rules and accompanying notes to petition for review practice. For example, the Notes to Rules 341 and 1311 direct counsel to file a petition for review of a trial court or government agency order refusing to certify an interlocutory order for immediate appeal. Similarly, Rule 1762 directs the filing of a petition for review when a party seeks release on bail before judgment of sentence is rendered, see Rule 1762(b), and Rule 1770 directs the filing of a petition for review when a juvenile seeks review of placement in a juvenile delinquency matter. A petition for review is also the proper method by which to seek judicial review pursuant to Rule 3321 (regarding legislative reapportionment commission) and Rule 3331 (regarding special prosecutions or investigations). The 2004 and 2012 amendments clarify the use of petitions for review in these special situations.
Subdivision (b) of this rule is necessary because otherwise conventional appeals from a court (which is included in the scope of the term government unit) to an appellate court would fall within the scope of this chapter under the provisions of Paragraph (a)(2) of this rule.
Subdivision (c) expressly recognizes that some statutory procedures are not replaced by petition for review practice. Thus, matters brought pursuant to Section 137 of the Associations Code governing judicial review of documents rejected by the Department of State or pursuant to the Election Code are controlled by the applicable statutory provisions and not by the rules in Chapter 15. See 15 Pa.C.S. § 137; Act of June 3, 1937, P. L. 1333, as amended 25 P. S. § § 26003591.
In light of Subdivision (d), where the court in which a petition for review is filed lacks subject matter jurisdiction (e.g., a petition for review of a local government question filed in the Commonwealth Court), Rules 741 (waiver of objections to jurisdiction), 751 (transfer of erroneously filed cases) and 1504 (improvident petitions for review) will be applicable. See also 42 Pa.C.S. § 5103.
The 2004 amendments are made to petition for review practice to address the evolution of judicial responses to governmental actions. As indicated in the Note to Rule 1502, when the Rules of Appellate Procedure were initially adopted, there was a long history in the Commonwealth . . . of relatively complete exercise of the judicial review function under the traditional labels of equity, mandamus, certiorari and prohibition. While such original jurisdiction forms of action are still available, their proper usage is now the exception rather than the rule because appellate proceedings have become the norm. Thus, the need to rely on Rule 1503 to convert an appellate proceeding to an original jurisdiction action and vice versa arises less often. Moreover, the emphasis on a petition for review as a generic pleading that permits the court to simultaneously consider all aspects of the controversy is diminished. The primary concern became making the practice for appellate proceedings more apparent to the occasional appellate practitioner. Accordingly, the rules have been amended to more clearly separate procedures for appellate proceedings from those applicable to original jurisdiction proceedings.
The responsibility of identifying the correct type of proceeding to be used to challenge a governmental action is initially that of counsel. Where precedent makes the choice clear, counsel can proceed with confidence. Where the choice is more problematic, then counsel should draft the petition for review so as to satisfy the directives for both appellate and original jurisdiction proceedings. Then the court can designate the proper course of action regardless of counsels earlier assessment.
The provisions of this Rule 1501 amended December 11, 1978, effective December 30, 1978, 8 Pa.B. 3802; amended May 16, 1979, effective September 30, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 1740; amended July 7, 1997, effective in 60 days, 27 Pa.B. 3503; amended July 8, 2004, effective 60 days after adoption, 34 Pa.B. 3862; amended December 10, 2012, effective in 60 days, 42 Pa.B. 7813. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (305149) to (305151).
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