The Supreme Court has established seven procedural rules committees and one evidentiary rules committee to provide advice and make recommendations for rules governing particular substantive areas.
Rules committees are made up of judges and attorneys appointed by the Supreme Court. They are not paid for their work and typically serve up to six years. Persons interested in serving on a committee can find more information here.
Committees typically meet quarterly to consider issues brought forward by the Supreme Court, judges, attorneys, employees of the Unified Judicial System, members of the legislative and executive branches of government, and citizens. Committee meetings are not open to the public. However, the public is welcome to submit written comments about its rules. The committees also monitor developments in the federal courts and in other states for impact on Pennsylvania court procedure.
Proposing Rule Changes
Rule change proposals are published for public comment before being submitted to or adopted by the Supreme Court. Some rule change proposals are submitted directly to the Supreme Court without the opportunity for the public to comment when circumstances require prompt action or because a proposed rule change is technical or perfunctory in nature. More information on the rulemaking process may be found in Pennsylvania Rule of Judicial Administration 103.
When the review process is complete, a final draft of the rule change proposal is submitted to the Supreme Court for consideration or the committee drops the proposal based on its review of public comments. Explanatory reports or comments published with rule proposals provide insight into committee considerations for developing specific proposals. Explanatory notes or comments within or immediately following the texts of final rules serve as guidelines for understanding the thinking behind proposed rules. The explanatory notes or comments are not officially adopted by the Supreme Court and do not constitute part of the rule. The Supreme Court may adopt, amend or reject any recommendation it receives from a procedural rules committee.
To learn more about searching for and retrieving information on proposed and adopted rules, please click to download the “Researching the Rules” informational document.