The Supreme Court has adopted a new public access policy for records of appellate and trial courts in Pennsylvania. Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts; No. 477 Judicial Administration Doc., 47 Pa.B. 291 (1/21/2017).
Included in the new policy is a table of limits to public access for different kinds of cases, with the following limits for matters within the Orphans’ Court:
|Subject Area||Record Description||Accessibility||Authority|
|Orphans’ Court||Proceedings related to appointment of|
guardianship for incapacitated persons.
|Shall be closed to the public upon request of the alleged incapacitated person or his counsel. After the individual’s death his/her estate may access the record of the guardianship proceedings.||20 Pa.C.S. § 5511(a); In re Estate of duPont, 2 A.3d 516 (Pa. 2010).|
|Orphans’ Court||Records required for foreign adoption decrees.||No Public Access unless a court order is granted upon good cause.||23 Pa.C.S. § 2908(F); Pa.O.C.R. 15.7.|
|Orphans’ Court||Adoption records.||No Public Access unless otherwise ordered.||23 Pa.C.S. § 2915; see also 23 Pa.C.S. § 2906; Pa.O.C.R. 15.7.|
|Orphans’ Court (Family Court in Philadelphia County or Juvenile Court Section of Family Division in|
Allegheny County Pa.R.J.A. 2157)
|Applications of a minor for|
judicial approval of decision
to have an abortion, under
the Abortion Control Act, as
well as proceedings and the name of the minor.
|No Public Access; sealed dockets, and documents shall be maintained in a closed file marked ‘‘confidential’’ and identified by case number only.||18 Pa.C.S. § 3206(f); Pa.O.C.R. 16.2 and 16.6. Note also Pa.R.J.A. No. 2157 and Pa.R.A.P. 3801.|