Juvenile Case Captions – Proposed Amendments

The Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee is proposing to amend Pa. R.A.P. 904 and 907 to specify a new format for case captions in appeals involving the Juvenile Act and the Adoption Act. Existing practice in such cases utilizes initials of the children to preserve privacy, but confusion can arise because of the likelihood that multiple cases will involve the same initials.

The proposed fix is to caption Juvenile Act and the Adoption Act notices of appeal from the outset “using the initials of the child’s full name, followed by the name of the county in which the order being appealed was entered and the year in which the order was entered.”  Proposed Pa. R.A.P. 904(g). The Proposed Note to Pa. RA.A.P. 904 provides an example — “In the Interest of A.B.C.—Jefferson 2017.”

The Explanatory Comment hints that the Committee considered a number of alternatives to use of initials, such as using actual first names with last initials only or assigning random first names in alphabetical order “as is done with hurricanes” but settled on the proposed convention as one that will protect privacy, avoid confusion, and encounter the fewest unintended consequences.

Proposed amendments to Pa. R.A.P. 904 and 907 (47 Pa.B. 4811, August 19, 2017); comments due September 29, 2017.

For more information, contact Kevin McKeon or Dennis Whitaker