The Trial Division is one of three divisions of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The Trial Division of the Court of Common Pleas has general jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases, excluding Family Division or Orphans' Court matters.
The Court of Common Pleas - Trial Division is composed of seventy commissioned judges. The judges in commission are supplemented by the services of senior judges. The Division is divided into two sections - Civil and Criminal. Forty-one commissioned judges are assigned to the criminal programs and twenty-nine are assigned to civil programs. There are approximately one-thousand employees in the many separate departments throughout the Trial Division.
Office of the Administrative Judge
The Trial Division is led by an Administrative Judge, who is appointed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and serves at the pleasure of the Supreme Court. On October 22, 2014, Judge Kevin M. Dougherty was appointed Administrative Judge for a three year term. As Administrative Judge, he is the approving authority for all administrative matters associated with the Trial Division.
Administrative Judge Dougherty has been appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to serve as Chair of the Administrative Governing Board of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. The AGB is the coordinating board for the two courts of the First Judicial District with a total of 129 judges in the Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court.
The duties of the Administrative Judge of the Trial Division include but are not limited to:
The Office of the Administrative Judge is located in room 300 City Hall. The phone number is 215 686-7344 and the fax number is 215 686-2831.
The Supervising Judge of the Civil Section is the Honorable Arnold L. New. Civil has jurisdiction over actions at law and equity along with appeals from Municipal Court and certain administrative agencies and boards. The Trial Division Civil has jurisdiction over civil claims involving amounts in excess of $10,000. The variety of civil actions that may be brought in the Trial Division Civil include Negligence, Contract and Equity Action.
The Supervising Judge of the Criminal Section is the Honorable Jeffrey P. Minehart. Criminal has jurisdiction over all felony cases as well as appeals from Municipal Court for a trial de novo, including a right to a trial by jury. Among the types of cases that fall within the assignments of the Trial Division Criminal are homicide cases, capital PCRA cases and felony cases. The Probation Department and Pretrial Services are included in the Criminal Section of the Division.