Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Philadelphia courts to close during Pope Francis' visit

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 23, 2015

Pope Francis | St. Francis de Sales Parish

PHILADELPHIA – The opening of the City of Philadelphia to the World Meeting of Families Conference and the visiting Pope Francis has resulted in the temporary closure of the Philadelphia court system.

The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania will be closed for four full business days during the conference and simultaneous Papal visit, spanning Wednesday-Monday.

During that time, the civil, criminal, municipal, common pleas and other court operations will be shut down, and court employees will not be appearing for work. The court system will reopen for business as usual on Tuesday.

Per Gabriel Roberts, a public relations representative for the First Judicial District, the court system had planned its docket schedule in advance of the closures and didn’t expect them to have an adverse effect on the courts’ workload.

“In anticipation of the event, we had rescheduled the vast majority of cases that we had on our docket,” Roberts said. 

Administrative Judge of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Kevin Dougherty added, “After many weeks of preparation and working with the City of Philadelphia and other local, state and federal agencies, our plans are geared towards ensuring that all of the Court’s essential functions will continue to operate uninterrupted during the week of the Pope’s visit.”

According to Roberts, the courts will temporarily relocate all essential court services to locations outside of the restricted security zone, during the World Meeting of Families conference. 

“The First Judicial District will consider any legal papers or pleadings which are required to be filed between Sept. 23, 2015 and Sept. 28, 2015, as being filed on a timely basis if they are filed on Tuesday, Sept, 29, 2015 – the first day the Courts will return to normal operations following the Papal visit,” Roberts said.

“Nonetheless, the District’s Electronic Filing System will continue to accept all filings with Court IT staff on-call should technical issues arise.”

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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