CHAPTER 1200. EMERGENCY RELIEF UNDER THE
PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ACT

Rule


1201.    Applicability.
1202.    Definitions.
1203.    Limitation on jurisdiction.
1204.    Venue.
1205.    Persons who may seek emergency relief.
1206.    Commencement of proceedings.
1207.    Hearing.
1208.    Findings and protection orders.
1209.    Service and execution of emergency protection orders.
1210.    Duration of emergency protection orders.
1211.    Certification to court of common pleas.

Source

   The provisions of these Rules 1201—1211 adopted March 24, 1977, 7 Pa.B. 894, effective March 24, 1977, unless otherwise noted.

Rule 1201. Applicability.

 The rules in this chapter apply to the exercise by a hearing officer of jurisdiction under Section 6110 of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110, to grant emergency relief from abuse.

   Official Note

   See the Protection From Abuse Act set forth in the Domestic Relations Code, 23 Pa.C.S. § §  6101—6118.

   The court of common pleas of each judicial district is responsible to ensure that a judge or magisterial district judge ‘‘is available on a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year basis to accept and decide on petitions for an emergency court order under’’ the Older Adult Protective Services Act. 35 P. S. §  10225.307. Actions commenced under the Older Adult Protective Services Act are governed by statute and local procedures, not by these rules.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1201 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385; amended July 7, 2006, effective immediately, 36 Pa.B. 3810. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (309591).

Rule 1202. Definitions.

 As used in this chapter:

 ‘‘abuse’’ ‘‘adult’’ and ‘‘family or household members’’ shall have the meanings given to those words in Section 6102 of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6102;

 ‘‘court’’ means the court of common pleas of the judicial district in which the office of the hearing officer taking action under these rules is located;

 ‘‘hearing officer’’ means a magisterial district judge, judge of the Philadelphia Municipal Court, bail commissioner appointed under 42 Pa.C.S. §  1123 (relating to jurisdiction and venue), master appointed under 42 Pa.C.S. §  1126 (relating to masters), and master for emergency relief appointed under 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110(e) (relating to master for emergency relief).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1202 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385; amended July 7, 2006, effective immediately, 36 Pa.B. 3810. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (309591) to (309592).

Rule 1203. Limitation on jurisdiction.

 The hearing officer may grant relief under these rules only when the court is unavailable to do so pursuant to the provisions of Section 6110 of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110, or local rule of court.

   Official Note

   The limitation in this rule is taken from Section 6110 of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110.

   This rule recognizes and reaffirms the existing practice in many counties. The availability of each court to grant necessary emergency relief under the Act will vary greatly, both during the business and non-business day; therefore, it was deemed desirable to permit each court to promulgate such rules as would best serve its specific needs in providing for efficient implementation of the emergency relief provisions of the Act.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1203 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (256356).

Rule 1204. Venue.

 A. Except as provided in subdivision B, a proceeding for emergency relief may be brought in a magisterial district within the county in which

 (1) the plaintiff resides, either temporarily or permanently, or

 (2) the abuse occurred.

 B. If the relief sought includes possession of the residence or household to the exclusion of the defendant, the action may be brought only in a magisterial district within the county in which the residence or household is located.

   Official Note

   This rule is consistent with Pa.R.C.P. No. 1901.1 and provides the necessary flexibility to a plaintiff who may have to flee the county of permanent residence to escape further abuse. This rule is intended to provide maximum flexibility to a plaintiff to use a convenient forum to seek an emergency protective order. However, where practicable, plaintiffs should give preference to filing in the magisterial district in which the plaintiff resides, either temporarily or permanently, or in the magisterial district in which the abuse occurred. A proceeding is considered to have been brought in a magisterial district even if it is before a hearing officer serving temporarily in that district, or before a hearing officer who has been invested by local rule with temporary county-wide jurisdiction.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1204 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (256536).

Rule 1205. Persons who may seek emergency relief.

 An adult or an emancipated minor may seek emergency relief from abuse for himself or herself. Also, any parent, adult household member or guardian ad litem may seek emergency relief from abuse on behalf of minor children. In addition, a guardian of the person of an incapacitated person as defined in 20 Pa.C.S. §  5501 may seek emergency relief on behalf of the incapacitated person.

   Official Note

   This rule is derived from Section 6106 of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6106.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1205 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (256536) to (256537).

Rule 1206. Commencement of proceedings.

 A. A proceeding for emergency relief from abuse shall be commenced by the filing of a petition by the plaintiff with the hearing officer on a form which shall be prescribed by the State Court Administrator. The petition shall be signed by the plaintiff and shall set forth the names and addresses of the plaintiff and the defendant and the names, addresses and ages of any person on whose behalf the plaintiff is seeking relief. The plaintiff shall also allege in the petition, in general terms, the cause for seeking relief from abuse.

 B. Upon issuance of an emergency order, the hearing officer shall provide the plaintiff with instructions regarding the commencement of proceedings in the court of common pleas and regarding the procedures for initiating a contempt charge should the defendant violate the emergency order. The hearing officer shall also advise the plaintiff of the existence of programs for victims of domestic violence in the county or in nearby counties and inform the plaintiff of the availability of legal assistance without cost if the plaintiff is unable to pay therefor.

 C. The petition shall be filed and service shall be made without prepayment of costs.

   Official Note

   It was thought desirable to require the petition to be on a simple, prescribed form since this is an emergency proceeding and the plaintiff is apt to be in an excited state at the time of the filing. Subdivision B is added to assure compliance with the requirement of Section 6110(d) of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110(d). Practice varies among the judicial districts as to what procedures the plaintiff must follow to continue in effect a protection order in the court of common pleas upon the certification of an emergency protection order to the court of common pleas. The hearing officer should provide clear instructions to the plaintiff as to what must be done to continue in effect the protection order in the court of common pleas. See Rule 1210 and Note and Rule 1211 and Note. Subdivision C is derived from Section 6106(b) of the Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6106(b) and reflects the practice when a temporary order is issued at the common pleas level.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1206 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (256537).

Rule 1207. Hearing.

 As soon as possible after the filing of the petition, the hearing officer shall hold an ex parte hearing thereon. The plaintiff may present witnesses at the hearing, but need not be compelled to disclose the permanent or temporary residence of the plaintiff or minor children.

   Official Note

   Under Section 6110(a) of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110(a), the hearing is ex parte, and under Section 6110(b) of the Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110(b) the emergency orders issued by the hearing officer as a result of the hearing are of short duration. Accordingly, there are no provisions in these rules for notice to the defendant prior to the hearing. The hearing need not be held at the office of the hearing officer. The last phrase was added to insure compliance with Section 6112 of the Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6112.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1207 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (256537).

Rule 1208. Findings and protection orders.

 A. If the hearing officer, upon good cause shown, finds it necessary to protect the plaintiff or minor children from abuse, he may grant relief in accordance with Section 6110(a) of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110(a), and make any protection orders necessary to effectuate that relief. Immediate and present danger of abuse to the plaintiff or minor children shall constitute good cause.

 B. The hearing officer shall enter on the petition form his findings and any protection orders made or other action taken by him.

   Official Note

   Subdivision A of this rule is derived from Section 6110(a) of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110(a), which permits the hearing officer to grant limited relief in accordance with Section 6108(a)(1), (2) and (6) or (1) and (6) of the Act (relating to relief).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1208 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (256537) to (256538).

Rule 1209. Service and execution of emergency protection orders.

 The hearing officer shall provide to the plaintiff a copy of a protection order made under Rule 1208. The hearing officer or, when necessary, the plaintiff shall immediately deliver a service copy of any protection order made under Rule 1208 to a police officer, police department, sheriff or certified constable for service upon the defendant and execution. After making reasonable effort, if the executing officer is unable to serve the protection order upon the defendant in a timely fashion, the executing officer shall leave a service copy of the petition form containing the order with the police department with jurisdiction over the area in which the plaintiff resides for service upon the defendant, and shall advise such police department that the order could not be served.

   Official Note

   The hearing officer should provide the plaintiff with at least one copy of a protection order, but more than one copy may be needed. For example, the plaintiff may wish to serve the order upon multiple police departments when the plaintiff lives and works in different police jurisdictions, etc. If it is necessary for the plaintiff to deliver the protection order to the executing officer, the hearing officer should make sure that the plaintiff fully understands the process and what must be done to have the order served upon the defendant. The hearing officer should make every effort to have the protection order served by a law enforcement officer in a timely fashion. The Rule requires that if the executing officer is unable to serve the protection order in a timely fashion, the executing officer shall leave a service copy of the order with the police department with jurisdiction over the area in which the plaintiff resides. This was thought advisable so that the local police would have a service copy in case they would be called to the plaintiff’s residence should the defendant return there. Due to the emergency nature of these protection orders and the fact that to be meaningful they must be served and executed at night or on a weekend, the hearing officer should have the authority to use police officers as well as sheriffs and certified constables to serve and execute these orders. See Section 6109(a) of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6109(a).

   Service shall be made without prepayment of costs. See Rule 1206(C).

   Service of protection orders upon the defendant at the time of execution may not be possible under some circumstances.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1209 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (256538).

Rule 1210. Duration of emergency protection orders.

 Protection orders issued under Rule 1208 shall expire at the end of the next business day the court deems itself available.

   Official Note

   This rule is derived from Section 6110(b) of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110(b). Practice varies among the judicial districts as to what procedures the plaintiff must follow to continue in effect a protection order in the court of common pleas upon the certification of an emergency protection order to the court of common pleas. The hearing officer should provide clear instructions to the plaintiff as to what must be done to continue in effect the protection order in the court of common pleas. See Rule 1206 and Note and Rule 1211 and Note.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1210 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (256538).

Rule 1211. Certification to court of common pleas.

 A. Any protection order issued under Rule 1208, together with any documentation in support thereof, shall immediately be certified to the court of common pleas by the hearing officer.

 B. Certification under subdivision A of this Rule shall be accomplished by sending to the prothonotary of the court by first class mail or messenger a certified copy of the petition form containing the order, with any supporting documentation attached.

   Official Note

   Certification under subdivision A of this rule is required by Section 6110(c) of the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. §  6110(c). This rule is also consistent with Pa.R.C.P. No. 1901.3(b) which permits commencement of an action by filing with the prothonotary a certified copy of an emergency protection order. However, practice varies among the judicial districts as to how the protection order is continued in effect after it is certified to the court of common pleas. For example, some judicial districts may require that the plaintiff appear in person to continue the action in the court of common pleas. Others may automatically commence an action in the court of common pleas upon receipt of a certified copy of the emergency order from the hearing officer. See Rule 1206 and Note and Rule 1210 and Note.

   Depending on local practice, the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s representative may act as a messenger under subdivision B of this rule.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1211 amended March 27, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 1900; amended November 2, 2001, effective February 1, 2002, 31 Pa.B. 6385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (256539).



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