On-Line Publication of Local Rules

In a brief, one-sentence order, the Supreme Court has directed all judicial districts to “establish and transmit to the Rules Committees (rulescommittees@pacourts.us) the address of a free and publically [sic] accessible website of the court or county in which the court has jurisdiction where all local rules are to be published.” Order for Establishment of Local Rules Website, No. 464 Judicial Administration Doc. (6/28/2016), 46 Pa.B. 3814 (7/16/2016).

This may be a consequence of one of the comments that I submitted (or others submitted) to the Rules Committee on proposed rules for the on-line publication of local rules.  In Proposed Amendment of Pa.R.Crim.P. 105, Pa.Rs.J.C.P. 121 and 1121 and Pa.R.C.P. No. 239 with Rescission of Pa.R.C.P. No. 239.8, 45 Pa.B. 5384 (8/29/2015), new rules were proposed that would require each court or county to maintain a copy of local rules on a website freely accessible to the public.  In comments, I pointed out that many counties are now publishing local rules through their websites, but that finding the rules is often not easy.  I therefore suggested that, “As a convenience for possible compliance checking, as well as a service to the public, each court should be required to provide the AOPC [Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts] with the URL (or URLs) for the consolidation of its local rules, or the webpage(s) on which orders and consolidations can be found, and the AOPC should publish an on-line index of links to those URLs.”

This new order would be the logical first step in creating such an an on-line index to local rules.


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