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In simplest terms, a prothonotary is the clerk for civil courts. All civil litigation is filed with the Prothonotary. Such litigation includes mortgage foreclosures, personal injury cases, license suspension appeals, divorce, child custody and protection from abuse cases. The Prothonotary also accepts U.S. passport applications.

The title Prothonotary means first officer. As the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas Civil Division, under the supervision of the judges of this court, the Prothonotary generally has the power to sign and affix the seal of the court to all writs and processes, and, also to the exemplifications of all records and process.

All civil litigation is filed with the Prothonotary. A few examples include the following: unpaid debt complaints, malpractice actions, mortgage foreclosures, personal injury cases, equity actions, replevin, district justice civil judgment appeals, license suspension appeals, administrative agency appeals, actions in ejectment, condemnation proceedings, family court matters such as divorce, child custody and protection from abuse cases. Liens against real estate and personal property are also part of the records. Records date back to 1759.

The Prothonotary or one of their deputies must be present in court during all civil cases to administer oaths to witnesses and juries and keep track of exhibits. The Prothonotary is responsible for the Naturalization Ceremony held twice a year, and is also the Acceptance Agency for U.S. Passport applications.

The position of Prothonotary is an elected official. The term of the office is four years.

FUN FACT - Only Pennsylvania and Delaware still use the title of prothonotary.

York County Prothonotary Facts

  • Base annual salary for this position is $81,067.37
  • Receives full benefits
  • Will be on the ballot again in 2019
  • Need 250 signatures on the nomination ballot to get on the primary ballot
  • The are no special qualifications to run for this office

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