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In re Adoption of Rules 205 and 1205

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

December 12, 2019

IN RE: ADOPTION OF RULES 205 AND 1205, AND AMENDMENT OF RULES 166, 167, 345, 1166, 1167, AND 1345 OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF JUVENILE COURT PROCEDURE

         SUPREME COURT RULES DOCKET

          ORDER

          PER CURIAM.

         AND NOW, this 12th day of December, 2019, upon the recommendation of the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee, the proposal having been published for public comment at 48 Pa.B. 7513 (December 8, 2018):

         It is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that:

1) Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure 205 and 1205 are adopted; and
2) Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure 166, 167, 345, 1166, 1167, and 1345 are amended in the attached form.

         This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective on June 1, 2020.

         RULE 166. MAINTAINING RECORDS IN THE CLERK OF COURTS

         D. Electronic Format. If a judicial district has provided for electronic filing pursuant to Rule 205, the juvenile court file in which electronic filing has been utilized may be maintained solely in an electronic format as long as copies of the documents maintained in the juvenile court file may be produced in a physical paper format.

         Comment

         Paragraph (C)(4) recognizes that occasionally resolution of oral motions presented in open court should be reflected in the docket, such as motions and orders related to omnibus motions as provided in Rule 346.

         Paragraph (D) permits electronically filed documents to be part of the juvenile court record in an electronic format. Accordingly, the juvenile court record may exist in both paper and electronic form, provided the electronic form can be produced in a paper form.

         Official Note: Rule 166 adopted April 1, 2005, effective October 1, 2005. Amended December 24, 2009, effective immediately. Amended May 21, 2012, effective August 1, 2012. Amended April 6, 2017, effective September 1, 2017. Amended December 12, 2019, effective June 1, 2020.

         Committee Explanatory Reports:

         Final Report explaining the provisions of Rule 166 published with the Court's Order at 35 Pa.B. 2214 (April 16, 2005). Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 166 published with the Court's Order at 40 Pa.B. 222 (January 9, 2010). Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 166 published with the Court's Order at 42 Pa.B. 3203 (June 9, 2012). Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 166 published with the Court's Order at 47 Pa.B. 2313 (April 22, 2017). Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 166 published with the Court's Order at Pa.B. (, 2019).

         RULE 167. FILINGS AND SERVICE OF COURT ORDERS AND NOTICES

         B. Service.

         1) A copy of any order or court notice shall be served promptly on the attorney for the Commonwealth, the juvenile's attorney, the juvenile, the juvenile probation officer, and any other person, service provider, or agency listed in the court order.

         2) The clerk of courts shall serve the order or court notice, unless the president judge has promulgated a local rule designating service to be by the court administrator or other court designee.

         3) Methods of [s]Service. Service shall be:

a) by:
i) personal delivery to the party's attorney or the juvenile;
ii) mailing a copy to the party's attorney or leaving a copy for the attorney at the attorney's office;
iii) in those judicial districts that maintain in the courthouse assigned boxes for counsel to receive service, leaving a copy for the attorney in the attorney's box;
iv) sending a copy to the juvenile by first class mail addressed to the juvenile's place of residence, detention, or placement;
v) sending a copy by facsimile transmission or other electronic means if the party's attorney or the juvenile has filed written request for this method of service or has included a facsimile number or an electronic address on a prior legal paper filed in the case; [or]
vi) delivery to the party's attorney or the juvenile by carrier service; or
b) orally in open court on the record[.]; or
c) in a judicial district that permits electronic filing pursuant to Rule 205, service of court orders or notices shall be made as provided in Rule 205(D)(2) and (H)(1).

         Official Note: Rule 167 adopted April 1, 2005, effective October 1, 2005. Amended December 24, 2009, effective immediately. Amended July 28, 2014, effective September 29, 2014. Amended December 12, 2019, effective June 1, 2020.

         Committee Explanatory Reports:

         Final Report explaining the provisions of Rule 167 published with the Court's Order at 35 Pa.B. 2214 (April 16, 2005). Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 167 published with the Court's Order at 40 Pa.B. 222 (January 9, 2010). Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 167 published with the Court's Order at 44 Pa.B. 5447 (August 16, 2014). Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 167 published with the Court's Order at Pa.B. (, 2019).

         (This is an entirely new rule.)

         RULE 205. ELECTRONIC FILING AND SERVICE OF LEGAL PAPERS

         A. Authorization. The president judge of a judicial district by local rule promulgated pursuant to Rule 121 and Rule of Judicial Administration 103 may authorize electronic filing of legal papers with the clerk of courts in cases in delinquency proceedings through the statewide electronic filing system as provided in this rule.

         B. Local Rule

         1) The local rule required under this rule shall include the following provisions:

a) subject to the provisions in paragraph (B)(2), a statement that the electronic filing system is permissive and specify the legal papers subject to the rule, but in no case shall legal papers prohibited from being filed electronically by this rule be permitted to be filed electronically;
b) a provision for the procedures to ensure that any party who declines to participate in the system, or who is unable to electronically file or accept service of legal papers which were filed electronically, or who is otherwise unable to access the system, at a minimum, shall be able to file legal papers in a physical paper format and be served legal papers in a physical format which were electronically filed;
c) any additional provisions as the court may deem necessary to provide a full and complete procedure for the use of the system within the judicial district; and
d) a notation that the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the judicial district have agreed upon an implementation plan for PACFile in the judicial district.

         2) Any judicial district that authorized electronic filing for a period of two years thereafter may amend their local rule, subject to the requirements of Rule 121 and Rule of Judicial Administration 103, to make participation in electronic filing mandatory. For the purpose of establishing the commencement of the period, a judicial district may rely upon an authorization established pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 576.1(B).

         C. Definitions. As used in this rule, the following words shall have the following meanings:

"electronic filing," the electronic submission of legal papers by means other than facsimile transmission and the acceptance of the document by the clerk of courts;
"filing party," an attorney, juvenile, or other person who files a legal paper by means of electronic filing;
"legal paper," a pleading or other submission to the court, including motions, answers, notices, or other documents, of which filing is required or permitted, including orders, copies of exhibits, and attachments, but excluding:
1) applications for search warrants;
2) applications for arrest warrants;
3) exhibits offered into evidence, whether or not admitted, in a court proceeding; and
4) submissions filed ex parte as authorized by law.
"original document," a legal paper filed electronically shall be deemed the original document, but copies of exhibits electronically filed do not constitute the original of the exhibit for evidentiary purposes; and
"the system," the PAC File electronic filing system, developed and administered by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, is the exclusive system for electronic filing.

         D. Participation

         1) The system shall permit attorneys, juveniles proceeding without counsel, law enforcement officers, and juvenile probation officers to file electronically.

         a) In order to participate in the system, an attorney shall establish an account in the system by procedures established by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

         b) A non-attorney shall be permitted to utilize the system through an authorization process established by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

         2) Establishment of an account by an attorney or authorization of a non-attorney in the system, to the extent so authorized by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts pursuant to paragraph (D)(1), shall constitute consent to participate in electronic filing, including acceptance of service electronically of any document filed on the system in any judicial district that permits electronic filing.

         3) An attorney or non-attorney participating in the system is permitted to file a legal paper either in an electronic format or in a physical paper format. Service upon an attorney or non-attorney participating in the system shall be done electronically.

         E. Filing

         1) When a legal paper is to be electronically filed, it may be submitted to the system at the Unified Judicial System web portal at http://ujsportal.pacourts.us, in accordance with this rule, any local rule adopted pursuant to this rule, and any filing instructions as may be otherwise provided at the web portal site.

         2) Electronic filings may be submitted at any time, except during times of periodic maintenance. The electronic submission must be completed by 11:59:59 p.m. EST/EDT to be considered filed that day.

         3) The time and date on which a legal paper is submitted to the system shall be recorded by the system. The system shall provide an acknowledgement to the filing party that the legal paper has been submitted.

         4) The time and date on which the legal paper is accepted by the clerk of courts office also shall be recorded by the system. The system shall provide an acknowledgement to the filing party that the legal paper has been accepted.

         5) A legal paper shall be considered filed upon submission of the legal paper to the system and acceptance of the filing by the clerk of courts. If the clerk of courts determines that the requirements for filing have been met, the time and date of filing shall be the time and date that the legal paper was submitted to the system. If the clerk of courts finds that the requirements for filing are not met, the clerk may reject the filing.

         6) A filing party shall be responsible for any delay, disruption, and interruption of the electronic signals and legibility of the document electronically filed, except when caused by the failure of the system's website.

         7) The system shall attribute the filing of an electronic legal paper to the party whose account is used to log onto the system and file the legal paper.

         8) Legal papers shall be presented for filing in portable document format (".pdf").

         9) All legal papers electronically filed shall be maintained and retained by the clerk of courts in an electronic format. Neither the clerk of courts nor the court is required to maintain in a physical paper format any legal paper filed electronically as provided in this rule.

         10) Any legal paper submitted for filing to the clerk of courts in a physical paper format shall be accepted by the clerk of courts in that format and shall be retained by the clerk of courts as may be required by applicable rules of court and record retention policies. The clerk of courts shall convert such legal paper in a physical paper format to .pdf and add it to the system. However, those submissions that are excluded from the definition of "legal paper" under paragraph (C) shall not be converted and added to the system.

         11) No legal paper that complies with the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure shall be refused for filing by the clerk of courts or the electronic filing system based upon a requirement of a local rule or local administrative procedure or practice pertaining to the electronic filing of legal papers.

         F. Signature

         1) Except as provided in paragraph (F)(3), an electronic signature of the filer as provided for in the system is permitted on electronic filings in the following form: /S/ John L. Doe.

         2) The electronic filing of a motion or answer that includes an electronic signature constitutes a certification pursuant to Pa.R.J.C.P. 344(C)(1) that the filing party or attorney has filed the motion in good faith.

         3) Any motion that, pursuant to Rule 344(C)(3), avers facts not of record and requiring a verification must be created in a physical paper form, have a physical signature placed on it, and then be converted into a .pdf before it may be electronically filed.

         4) The original of a verified legal paper that is an electronic filing or is contained within an electronic filing shall be maintained by the electronic filer in either electronic or paper format and made available upon direction of the court or reasonable request of the signatory or opposing party.

         G. Official Court Record Form. The court by local rule shall provide for the maintenance by the clerk of courts of an electronic file only, or of such electronic and physical paper format files as set forth in the local rule. Those legal papers that are not permitted to be electronically filed pursuant to paragraph (C) shall be maintained in a physical paper format only.

         H. ...


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