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246 Pa. Code Rule 112. Availability and Temporary Assignments of Magisterial District Judges.

Rule 112. Availability and Temporary Assignments of Magisterial District Judges.

 A.  The president judge of each judicial district shall be responsible for ensuring the availability during regular business hours within the judicial district of at least one magisterial district judge to handle matters requiring attention in civil and possessory actions.

 B.(1)  The president judge or his or her designee may assign temporarily the magisterial district judge of any magisterial district to serve another magisterial district whenever such assignment is needed:

     (a)   To satisfy the requirements of paragraph A.

     (b)   When a magisterial district judge has disqualified himself or herself either at the request of a party or sua sponte.

     (c)   To otherwise provide for the efficient administration of justice.

   (2)  Whenever a temporary assignment is made under this rule, notice of such assignment shall be conspicuously posted in all magisterial district courts affected by the temporary assignment.

   (3)  A magisterial district judge temporarily assigned under this rule shall have the jurisdiction and authority of the office the duties of which he or she is temporarily performing and may continue to exercise jurisdiction and authority in his or her own magisterial district.

   Official Note

   This rule was amended in 2007 to further provide for availability and temporary assignment of magisterial district judges in civil and possessory actions similar to that provided for in criminal matters. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 117. Nothing in this rule is intended to affect or conflict with the temporary assignment or coverage requirements for criminal matters as specified in the Rules of Criminal Procedure. Unlike the criminal coverage rules, paragraph A of this rule is intended to provide for availability only during regular business hours. None of the matters contemplated under paragraph A would require after-hours coverage.

   This rule is not intended to affect the availability requirements for emergency relief under the Protection From Abuse Act or 42 Pa.C.S. § §  62A01—62A20. See Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. Nos. 1201—1211. In addition, the court of common pleas of each judicial district is responsible to ensure that a judge or magisterial district judge ‘‘is available on a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year basis to accept and decide on petitions for an emergency court order under’’ the Older Adult Protective Services Act. 35 P.S. §  10225.307(a). Actions commenced under the Older Adult Protective Services Act are governed by statute and local procedures, not by these rules.

   Examples of matters contemplated under paragraph A that may require the attention of a magisterial district judge include the issuance of orders of execution under Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. No. 403, stays of execution under Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. Nos. 410 and 413, and orders for possession under Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. No. 516, so that such matters are handled in a timely manner even in the absence of the magisterial district judge to whom the case would ordinarily be assigned. Litigants may be required to wait a reasonable period of time for a magisterial district judge to complete an arraignment, hearing, or trial. It is expected that the president judge will continue the established procedures in the judicial district or establish new procedures to ensure sufficient availability of magisterial district judges consistent with paragraph A.

   Under paragraph B, one or more magisterial district judges may be temporarily assigned to serve one or more magisterial districts.

   Clause B(1)(b) makes explicit the authority of the president judge to temporarily assign a magisterial district judge when another magisterial district judge has disqualified himself or herself from hearing a matter. Disqualification may occur upon the request of a party or sua sponte. See Rule 2.11 of the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges. As with all judicial officers, a request for disqualification must be made directly to the magisterial district judge.

   See Pa. Const. art. V, §  10(a). This rule does not provide for temporary assignments of senior magisterial district judges by president judges. See also Rule 605 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Judicial Administration. Nothing in this rule is intended to conflict with Pa.R.J.A. No. 605.


   The provisions of this Rule 112 amended November 21, 1975, 5 Pa.B. 3020; amended April 25, 1979, effective May 25, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 1499; amended March 6, 2001, effective April 1, 2001, 31 Pa.B. 1556; amended April 18, 2007, effective May 18, 2007, 37 Pa.B. 2092; amended June 29, 2015, effective July 1, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 3811; amended April 29, 2016, effective immediately, 46 Pa.B. 2412. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (373484) and (378013).

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