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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 24-636




[210 PA. CODE CH. 65]

Amendments to the Superior Court Operating Procedures

[54 Pa.B. 2481]
[Saturday, May 11, 2024]

 The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has adopted amendments to its published Operating Procedures. These amendments are reflected in the Superior Court Operating Procedures with amendments to Pa. Code §§ 65.21 and 65.41.

 These changes were approved on February 21, 2024, and March 28, 2024, effective on those dates.

 (Additions appear in boldface. Deletions are bracketed and boldface.)

Annex A





§ 65.21. Motions Review Subject to Single Judge Disposition.

 A. Except as otherwise provided in § 65.22, a single judge of this Court, whether commissioned or specially assigned, may entertain and may grant or deny any request for relief which under the Rules of Appellate Procedure may properly be sought. A party may file an answer to an application, Pa.R.A.P. 123(b); a speaking application shall be verified unless the interest of justice requires action without it, Pa.R.A.P. 123(c); oral argument will not be permitted unless otherwise ordered by the Court, Pa.R.A.P. 123(d). The action of a single judge may be reviewed by the Court.


 Section 65.21(A) merely reaffirms the procedure codified in Pa.R.A.P. 123. A single judge may grant or deny relief requested by a proper application, Pa.R.A.P. 123(e). However, the Court may by order or rule provide that an application or class of applications must be acted upon by the Court.

 B. All petitions for extension of time shall be referred by the Prothonotary to the motions judge. Such petitions should be acted upon as soon as possible unless the motion judge feels an answer is necessary.

 1. Petitions for extension shall be granted only on cause shown and in any event the filing of the brief is required, particularly in criminal cases, even though the right to argue is lost. However, if the petition for extension is accompanied by a substantive motion, such as a motion to quash, remand, or withdraw, Central Legal Staff shall review the motion in an expeditious manner pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 65.21(D).

 2. Notwithstanding any contrary procedures set forth above, all petitions for extension of time to file a brief in cases designated Children's Fast Track or Other Family Fast Track, upon receipt by the Prothonotary, shall be sent to Central Legal Staff for processing. All such petitions shall be presented to a motions judge for disposition within three days of receipt of the petition by Central Legal Staff. Petitions for extension of time to file a brief in Children's Fast Track or Other Family Fast Track cases shall be granted only upon a showing of good cause and extraordinary circumstances. [Generalities such as the purpose of the motion is not for delay or that counsel is too busy will not constitute either good cause or extraordinary circumstances.] Extensions for time should rarely be granted, and when granted should rarely be for a period in excess of seven days.

 C. All other motions, petitions or applications for relief subject to this rule, shall, upon receipt by the Prothonotary, be transmitted to Central Legal Staff.

 D. Central Legal Staff, upon receiving an application for relief pursuant to subsection C, shall review the application, [and] prepare a recommendation and present the application and recommendation to the assigned motions judge at a time and place convenient to the motions judge. Central Legal Staff may also present recommendations for sua sponte orders deemed necessary to correct or clarify preliminary procedural matters.

 E. The motions judge may decide the application on the basis of the application or may require the filing of an answer or briefs, or the motions judge may schedule a hearing thereon.

 F. Unless ordered by the Court, oral argument will not be permitted.

 G. It is within the discretion of a single judge to whom an application has been referred to decide the motion or to have it presented to a motions panel. Pa.R.A.P. 123(e).

 (As amended, effective 1/1/97)

 H. Once a case is scheduled before a panel, all motions filed thereafter shall be referred to that panel.

 I. Motions for continuance are to be referred to the presiding judge of the panel who alone may decide the motion, or who may obtain a vote of the other judges of the panel by letter or phone.

 J. Any motions for mandamus, prohibition and writs of habeas corpus where no direct appeal is pending shall be referred by the Chief Staff Attorney to the assigned motions judge.


 See Municipal Publications v. Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, 507 Pa. 194, 489 A.2d 1286 (1985).

(Amended February 21, 2024, imd. effective)


§ 65.41. Argument Before a Court En Banc.

 A. When argument before a Court En Banc is granted, [the President Judge] any merits panel decision is withdrawn pending the decision of the Court En Banc and the order shall direct the Prothonotary to schedule such argument at the next available session. The judges to hear argument shall be selected by the President Judge. The presiding judge shall be the commissioned judge highest in seniority except when the Court En Banc includes the President Judge, who shall then be the presiding judge.

 B. Where en banc argument is limited to one or more but less than all issues raised by an appellant, counsel shall be notified regarding the [specific] particular issues on which the Court En Banc desires to hear argument. The parties' briefs, however, shall address all of the issues raised on appeal.

 C. Before or after argument before the Court En Banc, the Court may vote that en banc consideration was improvidently granted. In such event, the previous panel decision in the matter shall be reinstated or, if there is no previous panel decision in the matter, the case shall be listed before the next available panel of this Court.

 D. The following rule only applies to a motion to discontinue an appeal after the Court has granted reargument before the Court en banc. Pa.R.A.P. 1973 applies to all other motions to discontinue an appeal.

1. While a case is pending disposition by the Court En Banc, a party may file an application to discontinue the appeal and the appeal will be discontinued only if a majority of the Commissioned Judges vote to grant the application to discontinue the appeal.

2. If a party files a praecipe to discontinue the appeal, the Court shall treat the praecipe as an application to discontinue the appeal and it will be subject to vote by the commissioned judges of the Court.

3. If the commissioned judges vote to discontinue the appeal, the Court shall discontinue the appeal and reinstate the merits panel's opinion or memorandum opinion.

[D.] 4. In the event that a party seeks to remove en banc status and reinstate a panel's decision, such request must be made by motion and is subject to full court review.

 E. In the event that a party in another appeal has raised an issue for which the Court has granted [Reargument] reargument, the Court shall stay such appeal pending the decision of the en banc panel.

 F. The Court may decide to stay the case sua sponte or upon a motion that a party files.

 (Amended March 28, 2024, imd. effective)

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 24-636. Filed for public inspection May 10, 2024, 9:00 a.m.]

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