Appeals, Nos. 131 and 135, Jan. T., 1950, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1947, No. 1299, in case of American Casualty Company of Reading v. Dorothy Kligerman et al. Appeal quashed and judgment vacated.
George H. Detweiler, with him David Fulmer Keely, Robert A. Detweiler and Charles W. Sweeney, for appellant.
S. Regen Ginsburg, with him H. P. Abramson, for Dorothy Kligerman, appellee.
Louis Wagner, for Jay E. Tipton, appellee.
Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones and Bell, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE
These appeals are from a judgment under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act of June 18, 1923, P.L.
, sec. 1 et seq., at amended, 12 PS 831. The purpose of the proceeding was to determine the validity of a compensation agreement between the insurance carrier, the employer and the widow of a deceased employe, within the terms of The Workmen's Compensation Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 PS 1 et seq.
Workmen's compensation, in essence, is a part of a social insurance plan which also includes old age and unemployment insurance. Its operation has proven of tremendous benefit both to employe and employer. The purpose of the Act is to afford a workman protection against injuries, and to give relief in case of accident by way of accident insurance in place of common law rights. Proceedings for the adjustment of compensation claims when the parties interested agree upon the amount payable, and the enforcement of liability in case of disagreement, are outlined in the Act. The methods adopted, the practice and procedure followed are contrary to the ordinary rules of the common law.
For administration purposes the State is divided into districts, with a referee or referees in each district, a district consisting of certain designated counties. The Workmen's Compensation Board consists of an chairman and three members, one of whom, the Secretary of Labor and Industry, is an ex officio member who does not vote on orders, decisions or awards. The Act provides that jurisdiction of all cases arising under the compensation law is vested in these Referees and the Board. Such jurisdiction cannot be changed or enlarged by contract or consent.
The courts of common pleas are without jurisdiction in compensation cases, except on appeal. The parties are not entitled to a jury trial, and jurisdiction cannot ...