|Office of Prothonotary
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Accepting Filing Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
County of Lancaster
Office of Prothonotary
50 N. Duke St
P.O. Box 83480
Lancaster, Pa. 17608-3480
Phone (717) 299-8282
Fax (717) 293-7210
Mission: To fulfill the statutory responsibilities in as efficient, cost effective manner as possible, while focusing on providing exemplary customer service and utilizing automation to achieve both efficiencies as well as improved public access to the civil record of the court.
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 Prothonotary.
The Office of Prothonotary is responsible for the recording and filing of legal papers for the Civil side of the Court system of a widely diversified character such as: custody, divorce, protection from abuse, civil actions, mortgage foreclosures, quiet titles, change of names, administers oaths, power of attorney registrations, school audit reports, treasurer sale deed records, petitions for opening ballot boxes on recounts, judgments, mechanical, municipal, county, and State and Federal income tax liens, appeals, mental commitments, accepts passport applications, issues certificates and conducts ceremonies for naturalization.
In 2004, the Prothonotary began offering electronic filing of court documents. E-filing provides another example of technology’s ability to improve customer service and reduce costs to the county. Instead of passing paper across a counter, attorneys are able to file their documents at all hours, without sending a courier into the courthouse.
Note: The Prothonotary is elected to office for a four-year term.