Rule 1921. Composition of Record on Appeal.
The original papers and exhibits filed in the lower court, paper copies of legal papers filed with the prothonotary by means of electronic filing, the transcript of proceedings, if any, and a certified copy of the docket entries prepared by the clerk of the lower court shall constitute the record on appeal in all cases.
An appellate court may consider only the facts which have been duly certified in the record on appeal. Commonwealth v. Young, 456 Pa. 102, 115, 317 A.2d 258, 264 (1974). All involved in the appellate process have a duty to take steps necessary to assure that the appellate court has a complete record on appeal, so that the appellate court has the materials necessary to review the issues raised on appeal. Ultimate responsibility for a complete record rests with the party raising an issue that requires appellate court access to record materials. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Williams, 552 Pa. 451, 460, 715 A.2d 1101, 1106 (1998) (addressing obligation of appellant to purchase transcript and ensure its transmission to the appellate court). Rule 1931(c) and (f) afford a safe harbor from waiver of issues based on an incomplete record. Parties may rely on the list of documents transmitted to the appellate court and served on the parties. If the list shows that the record transmitted is incomplete, the parties have an obligation to supplement the record pursuant to Rule 1926 (correction or modification of the record) or other mechanisms in Chapter 19. If the list shows that the record transmitted is complete, but it is not, the omission shall not be a basis for the appellate court to find waiver. This principle is consistent with the Supreme Courts determination in Commonwealth v. Brown,
, 52 A.3d 1139, 1145 n.4 (2012) that where the accuracy of a pertinent document is undisputed, the Court could consider that document if it was in the Reproduced Record, even though it was not in the record that had been transmitted to the Court. Further, if the appellate court determines that something in the original record or otherwise presented to the trial court is necessary to decide the case and is not included in the certified record, the appellate court may, upon notice to the parties, request it from the trial court sua sponte and supplement the certified record following receipt of the missing item. See Rule 1926 (correction or modification of the record).
The provisions of this Rule 1921 amended August 13, 2008, effective immediately, 38 Pa.B. 5422; amended May 9, 2013, effective to appeals and petitions for review filed 30 days after adoption, 43 Pa.B. 2810. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (338832) and (338833).
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