Friday, March 07, 2008

PA S Ct Announces OC Rules Cte Appointments

On March 4, 2008, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court publicly announced two new appointments and four reappointments of members to its Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee. The Press Release was issued by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

The Press Release reads as follows:

HARRISBURG, March 4, 2008 — The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania today announced the appointments of the Hon. Anne E. Lazarus and Neil E. Hendershot, Esq., to the Orphans’ Court Procedural Rules Committee.

Lazarus, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Orphans’ Court judge, and Hendershot, of Dauphin County, both were appointed to terms expiring Dec. 31, 2010.

The Supreme Court also reappointed the following members to the committee: Chester County Common Pleas Court President Judge Paula Francisco Ott; Kristen M. DelSole, Esq., Allegheny County and Michael L. Mixell, Esq., Berks County. Each was reappointed to a term that expires Dec. 31, 2010.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Orphans’ Court Judge Calvin S. Drayer Jr. also was reappointed to the committee for a term expiring Dec. 31, 2010 and designated chair.

The committee, established in 1939, reviews current rules governing statewide practice and procedure in the Orphans’ Court, recommending amendments and new rules, notes and commentary as necessary. The seven-member committee of lawyers and jurists also responds to questions from the bench, bar and public. [Emphasis added]
The Press Release followed a posting made February 29, 2008, on the AOPC's website, entitled "Updates to the members of the Continuing Legal Education Board, Criminal Procedural Rules Committee, Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee, Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee and the Pennsylvania Lawyer's Fund for Client Security", which referenced -- among actions affecting other PA Supreme Court advisory committees -- these new appointments & reappointments to the Orphans' Court Procedural Rule Committee.

The Court's appointing Orders, each dated February 21, 2008, are available online (PDF, 1 page each):
The legal foundation & mission of this Committee are described on its descriptive webpage, as follows:
The Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee was established under Article V, § 10(c) of the 1968 Pennsylvania Constitution and 42 Pa. C.S., § 1772.

It responds to developments in orphans' court procedure and reviews current rules governing statewide practice and procedure in the orphans' court, recommending new rules as necessary.
Supportive staff personnel for the Committee include:
  • Dean R. Phillips, Esq., Counsel
  • Lisa M. Rhode, Esq., Deputy Counsel
  • Elizabeth J. Knott, Administrative Assistant
The Committee has functioned more actively & visibly during the past five years; and likely will continue to do so. For example, see many of the postings on this PA EE&F Law Blog under the topic "Orphans' Ct Practice" regarding matters derived from the Committee's past work.

Communications to the Committee can be addressed to: Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, 5035 Ritter Road, Suite 700, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 (Ofc: 717-795-2042; Email:

Update: 03/13/08:

For historical background about "Orphans' Courts" in America, and specifically in Pennsylvania & Maryland, see: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "
Maryland's "Orphans' Courts" Might Change" (03/13/08).