Prothonotary & Clerk of Courts

Prothonotary

Responsibilities

The Prothonotary is the clerk of the court of common pleas and keeps records of all civil procedures before the courts, signs all writs and processes (such as suits) and files copies of all records and processes. The duties and responsibilities of the prothonotary and other court-related offices are set forth throughout the County Code and other state laws. These include:

  • Taking bail in civil actions
  • Entering judgements at the instance of plaintiffs
  • Upon the confession of defendants, signing all judgments
  • Taking the acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgements or decrees entered on the records of the court
  • Administering oaths and affirmations
  • Required by state law to maintain the judgement docket

Recordkeeping

The Prothonotary is the Commonwealth’s agent for the collection of the tax on original writs and other records received and is responsible for records including the minute book for the court of common pleas, trial and argument list, and similar records.

A service which requires considerable time is the processing of naturalization papers. The office obtains information and makes records and arrangements for naturalization court. Applications for passports can also be obtained at the office of the prothonotary. Recording divorce proceedings is also a duty of the office of the Prothonotary.

Other Duties

An important duty of the office is receiving petitions in connection with roads and rights of way, recording the action of members of boards of view, and eminent domain proceedings.

Clerk of Courts

The office of the Clerk of Courts is reputed to be one of the oldest in the state. This officer is the chief clerk and record keeper for the criminal courts. The clerk keeps all papers filed under criminal and civil procedures of the courts and is responsible for maintaining the minute book and the records of all similar procedures of the courts.

Prothonotary Downloadable Documents