The word Prothonotary is a Latin word meaning "first, chief or highest administrator". This title dates back in Ecclesiastical Law as being the highest administrator of the Court of Rome and the first Notary known as the Prelate of a body of 12 Notaries. When a case was ready for trial, the Prothonotary would notify the Judges when to appear in Court to try the case.
Later when the English Court system was set up, the Prothonotary acted as the chief administrator in the English Courts of the Kings Bench and Common Pleas. When our American Court system was set up, we also adopted the same procedures as those being used by the English Courts. Every state in our United States has their Clerks of the Common Pleas Court but very few are titled as Prothonotaries. The Prothonotary provides the avenue for external oversight of the records of the Judiciary without the legislative or executive branch of government's interference with its actions or independence.
This elected official perseveres for the public unfettered access to a fair and accurate record of opinions, decisions and judgments of the court.
Note: The Prothonotary is elected to office for a four-year term.
50 N. Duke St
P.O. Box 83480
Lancaster, PA, 17608
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Accepting Filing Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.