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Reference information: Minor Courts
Minor Courts > Minor Courts Home
The minor courts, also called the "special courts," are the first level of Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System. Except in Philadelphia, these courts are presided over by magisterial district judges who decide small claims, landlord-tenant disputes, traffic cases and minor criminal matters. There are 544 magisterial district judges based in community courts throughout the Commonwealth. These judges are not required to be lawyers, but they must undergo legal training and attend continuing legal education programs.
In Philadelphia the minor courts are made up of a Municipal Court and a separate Traffic Court, each with its own elected judges. In Allegheny County the Pittsburgh Municipal Court is staffed by magisterial district judges based in the city and the county. http://www.pacourts.us/T/SpecialCourts/