World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Law of Pennsylvania

Article Id: WHEBN0040254608
Reproduction Date:

Title: Law of Pennsylvania  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Crime in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, State law (United States), Government of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Collection: Pennsylvania Law, State Law in the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Law of Pennsylvania

The law of Pennsylvania consists of several levels, including constitutional, statutory, regulatory and case law. The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes form the general statutory law.


  • Sources 1
    • Constitution 1.1
    • Legislation 1.2
    • Regulations 1.3
    • Case law 1.4
    • Local ordinances 1.5
  • See also 2
    • Topics 2.1
    • Other 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Title page of the 1853 Laws of Pennsylvania

The Constitution of Pennsylvania is the foremost source of state law. Legislation is enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, published in the Laws of Pennsylvania, and codified in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. State agency regulations (sometimes called administrative law) are published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and codified in the Pennsylvania Code. Pennsylvania's legal system is based on common law, which is interpreted by case law through the decisions of the Supreme Court, Superior Court, and Commonwealth Court, which are published in the Pennsylvania State Reports and the Pennsylvania Reporter. Municipalities may also promulgate local ordinances. In addition, there are also several sources of persuasive authority, which are not binding authority but are useful to lawyers and judges insofar as they help to clarify the current state of the law.


The foremost source of state law is the Constitution of Pennsylvania. The Constitution of Pennsylvania in turn is subordinate only to the Constitution of the United States, which is the supreme law of the land.


Pursuant to the state constitution, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has enacted various laws, known as "slip laws".[1] These are published in the official Laws of Pennsylvania, also known as the "Pamphlet Laws" or generically as "session laws".[1] Pennsylvania is currently undertaking its first official codification process in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.[2][3] They are published by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau (PALRB or LRB).[4]

There are also several unofficial sources for statutes. The old, unofficial codification is Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated, which is also being updated in line with the new codification as Purdon's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated.[2][3] In addition, there are several historic sources of session laws. The Pennsylvania Statutes at Large contain charters, laws in force and obsolete laws from 1682 through 1809; publication began in 1896 and are being digitized by the LRB.[3][5] Smith's Laws contain public laws in force from 1700 through 1829, and were published prior to the Statutes at Large, beginning in 1810.[3]


Front page of volume 45 of the Pennsylvania Bulletin

Pursuant to certain statutes, state agencies have promulgated bodies of regulations (sometimes called administrative law). The regulations are codified in the Pennsylvania Code (Pa. Code).[6] The Pennsylvania Bulletin is the weekly gazette containing proposed, enacted and emergency rules and other notices and important documents.[7] Changes in the Pennsylvania Code are made via the Pennsylvania Code Reporter, a monthly loose-leaf supplement.[7] They are compiled, edited and supplemented by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau.[4]

Case law

The legal system of Pennsylvania is based on the common law. Like all U.S. states except Louisiana, Pennsylvania has a reception statute providing for the "reception" of English law. All statutes, regulations, and ordinances are subject to judicial review. Pursuant to common law tradition, the courts of Pennsylvania have developed a large body of case law through the decisions of the Supreme Court, Superior Court, and Commonwealth Court.

The official reporter for the Supreme Court is the Pennsylvania State Reports since 1845. There are no official reporters for either the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court, but the Pennsylvania Reporter (a Pennsylvania-specific version of the Atlantic Reporter) is an unofficial reporter. There is no official reporting of decisions of trial courts, but County Court (Common Pleas Court) opinions are selectively published in the Pennsylvania District and County Reports. Many counties also publish their own reporters which contain select trial court opinions for that county.[8] Estate and trusts trial cases are published in the Fiduciary Reporter, and local government cases (both trial and appellate) are published in Chrostwaite's Pennsylvania Municipal Law Reporter.[9] The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts also posts opinions from the Supreme Court (from November 1996), Superior Court (from December 1997), and Commonwealth Court (from January 1997) on its website.[9]

Superior Court opinions were published in the Pennsylvania Superior Court Reports from 1895–1997, and Commonwealth Court opinions were published in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Reports from 1970–1995.[10]

Local ordinances

Title page of the 2001 Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances

Municipalities may enact and enforce local ordinances.[11]

See also




  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c d
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

  • Consolidated Statutes of Pennsylvania from the Pennsylvania General Assembly
  • Unconsolidated Statutes of Pennsylvania from the Pennsylvania General Assembly
  • Pennsylvania Code from the Pennsylvania General Assembly
  • Pennsylvania Code from
  • Pennsylvania Bulletin from
  • Supreme Court opinions from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts
  • Superior Court opinions from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts
  • Commonwealth Court opinions from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts
  • Local ordinance codes from Public.Resource.Org

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.