Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
County of Allegheny
Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania

Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania:
Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts
(Effective January 6, 2018)

Fifth Judicial District Filing Requirements

The statewide Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts becomes effective on January 6, 2018.   The Policy requires filers to take certain measures to protect both "Confidential Documents" as defined in Section 8.0 of the Policy and "Confidential Information" as defined in Section 7.0 of the Policy.  A one page diagram outlining the filing requirements in Allegheny County under the Public Access Policy can be found at this link.

Further information regarding the statewide Policy can be found at the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania's website at http://www.pacourts.us/public-records/public-records-policies.

Additional Document Links
Filing Confidential Documents (Section 8.0)
Under the Policy, a "Confidential Document" as defined in Section 8.0 of the Policy must be filed using a statewide Confidential Document Form.  This applies whether filing in person, by mail or when e-filing.

Under the Policy, a "Confidential Document" includes:
  1. Financial Source Documents;
  2. Minors' educational records;
  3. Medical/Psychological records;
  4. Children and Youth Services' records;
  5. Marital Property Inventory and Pre-Trial Statement as provided in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1920.33;
  6. Income and Expense Statement as provided in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.27(c); and
  7. Agreements between the parties as used in 23 Pa.C.S. Section 3105
Filing Documents Containing Confidential Information (Section 7.0):
The Fifth Judicial District has adopted Allegheny County Local Rule of Judicial Administration 6001.7.

Under this local rule, a person filing a document in Allegheny County containing "Confidential Information" as defined in Section 7.0 of the Policy must file that document in duplicate with an unredacted original and a copy with all "Confidential Information" redacted.

When filing in person or by mail, the unredacted original must be filed with a Fifth Judicial District Unredacted Original Cover Sheet which is also available at the Department of Court Records.

When e-filing, however, the filer should not use the Fifth Judicial District Unredacted Original Cover Sheet but rather will be prompted to upload the unredacted original document separately from the redacted version.

Under the Policy, "Confidential Information" includes:
  1. Social Security Numbers;
  2. Financial Account Numbers, except an active financial account number may be identified by the last four digits when the financial account is the subject of the case and cannot otherwise be identified;
  3. Driver License Numbers;
  4. State Identification (SID) Numbers;
  5. Minors' names and dates of birth except when a minor is charged as a defendant in a criminal matter (see 42 Pa.C.S. Section 6355); and
  6. Abuse victim's address and other contact information, including employer's name, address and work schedule, in family court actions as defined by Pa.R.C.P. No. 1931(a), except for victim's name.
Attaching Certificate of Compliance

The Policy requires filers to include a Certificate of Compliance with all their filings certifying that they are complying with the requirements of the Policy.  There are two instances when a separate Certificate of Compliance is not required:
  1. When e-filing in Allegheny County, it is not necessary to include a Certificate of Compliance, as the e-filing system will require you to check a "compliance checkbox" that will serve as the Certificate of Compliance.
  2. When filing a "Confidential Document" using a Confidential Document Form, a separate Certificate of Compliance is not required as the Certificate of Compliance language is included on the Confidential Document Form.

Exceptions to Requirements

Confidential Document Forms and/or Redacted/Unredacted copies need not be used in matters in which the documents filed by the parties are otherwise completely confidential by law or rule and unavailable for public access including, but not limited to:

  • Act 53 Proceedings
  • Adoptions
  • Dependency Proceedings
  • Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings that are completely confidential pursuant to applicable rules and statute
  • Pennsylvania Judicial Bypass Proceedings
  • Support Proceedings
  • Incapacity proceedings filed pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. Sections 5501-5555
  • Proceedings under 20 Pa.C.S. Section 711(9)
  • Confidential proceedings under the Mental Health Procedures Act, 50 P.S. Section 7101 et. sec.
  • Matters under seal in the Civil Division that are unavailable for public access
  • Documents filed under seal in the Civil Division that are unavailable for public access
Certificates of Compliance are still required in these matters.