The Superior Court of Pennsylvania

PA Supreme Court Web

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania is the principal intermediate appellate court of the Commonwealth. This is the court responsible for reviewing almost all of the criminal, civil, and other decisions that are appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas in all 67 of Pennsylvania’s counties.  Almost all litigants are granted an automatic right of appeal to the Superior Court, while PA’s Supreme Court review is discretionary and the Commonwealth Court adjudicates a very limited number of cases – resulting in caseload that has rightfully earned the court’s reputation as the busiest state appellate court in the nation. It is Pennsylvania’s Superior Court that is largely responsible for the lion’s share of appellate law that is written in the Commonwealth.

Accordingly, we must ensure that the concerns of Pennsylvanians are heard by the most competent jurists by electing judicial candidates of consequence and character to the Superior Court who will render decisions that are well-reasoned, fair, and decided in the common interests of justice.  Some 8,000 appeals were decided by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in 2015.

Of those eight thousand, just 84 appeals to the Supreme Court were permitted.  Consequently, the Superior Court is responsible for issuing de facto final decisions in a wide variety of cases and disputes for roughly 99% of Pennsylvania’s litigants.

 

Issues heard by the Superior Court include:

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Every criminal defendant in Pennsylvania has an automatic right of appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court if they are convicted, or plead guilty, at trial.  As a result, the Superior Court ends up reviewing a great many (if not most) such cases.

 

FAMILY LAW

Controversies involving divorce decrees, division of marital property, alimony, child custody arrangements, child support payments, dependency determinations, and terminations of parental rights are all regularly reviewed by the Superior Court.

 

PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ORDERS

The Superior Court also reviews claims that individuals (or courts) have violated protection from abuse orders, which are essentially Pennsylvania’s equivalent of the commonly understood “restraining order.”

 

PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS & TORTS

The results of cases filed for monetary damages against individuals, corporations, and other entities are all subject to review by the Superior Court, which has the authority to certify (or reverse) conclusions regarding liability, damages, and legal duties reached by judges and juries.

 

WILLS & ESTATES

Controversies involving end-of-life documents like estates, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and the like are also subject to review before the Superior Court.

 

CONTRACTUAL DISPUTES

Whether in the context of landlord-tenant disputes, construction contracts, employment agreements, bills of sale, and commercial dealings, the Superior Court also predominates over such appeals.

 

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