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. The Administrative Judge of the Trial Division is the Honorable Lisette Shirdan-Harris. The Supervising Judge of the Civil Section is the Honorable Daniel J. Anders. The Supervising Judge of the Criminal Section is the Honorable Lucretia C. Clemons. The Supervising Judge of the Commerce Program is the Honorable Nina Wright Padilla.
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.
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.
Honorable Lisette Shirdan-Harris
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 16, 2020, Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris was appointed Administrative Judge. As Administrative Judge, she is the approving authority for all administrative matters associated with the Trial Division.
The duties of the Administrative Judge of the Trial Division include but are not limited to: