(a) Courts Always Open. The courts of this State shall be deemed always open for the purpose of filing any pleading or other proper paper, or issuing and returning mesne and final process, and of making and directing all interlocutory motions, orders and rules.
(b) Trials and Hearings; Orders in Chambers. All trials upon the merits shall be conducted in open court and so far as convenient in a regular courtroom. All other acts or proceedings may be done or conducted by a judge in chambers, without the attendance of the clerk or other court officials and at any place either within or without the circuit, but no hearing, other than one ex parte or one upon motions subsequent to trial, shall be conducted outside the circuit without the consent of all parties affected thereby.
(c) Clerk's Office and Orders by Clerk. The clerk's office with the clerk or a deputy in attendance shall be open during business hours on all days except Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. All motions and applications in the clerk's office for issuing mesne process, for issuing final process to enforce and execute judgments, for entering defaults, and for other proceedings which do not require allowance or order of the court are grantable of course by the clerk; but his action may be suspended or altered or rescinded by the court upon motion for cause shown.
(d) Notice of Orders or Judgments. Immediately upon the entry of an order or judgment the clerk shall serve a notice of the entry by first class mail upon every party affected thereby who is not in default for failure to appear, and shall make a note in the case file or docket sheet of the mailing. For parties proceeding in the SCE-File electronic filing system, the clerk shall serve a notice of the entry by electronically transmitting a Notice of Electronic Filing to all parties. Such mailing or electronic transmission shall not be necessary to parties who have already received notice. Such mailing or electronic transmission is sufficient notice for all purposes for which notice of the entry of an order or judgment is required by these rules; but any party may in addition serve a notice of entry on any other party in the manner provided in Rule 5 for the service of such papers. In addition to the above, in post-conviction relief actions, the post-conviction relief judge shall submit the signed order or judgment to the clerk of court for filing and the clerk shall promptly provide notice of the entry of judgment and serve a copy of the signed order to the parties. Pursuant to Rule 5(b) service shall be made solely on the attorney when the applicant is represented by counsel and, where an applicant is proceeding pro se, service shall be made upon the applicant at the last known address provided to the clerk by the applicant.
Note to 2014 Amendment:
This amendment requires the clerk to serve notice of entry of an order or judgment through the SCE-File electronic filing system for all parties who are proceeding in the electronic filing system. Any party or the attorney for a party who is a traditional filer and not proceeding in the electronic filing system must be served by first class mail as provided in paragraph (d).
(e) Cancelling or Ordering Terms of Court. No term of court shall be cancelled nor additional term scheduled without the prior approval of the Chief Justice. When the local bar requests that a week of common pleas court be not held, or the solicitor requests that a week of general sessions court be not held, the clerk shall immediately notify the Court Administrator of this State.
This Rule 77 is substantially identical to the Federal Rule and present State practice. The only additions are the requirement in Rule 77(d) that the Clerk mail notice of entry of orders or judgment, unless (as is customary) they have been notified, usually by the judge; and Rule 77(e) preserves present Circuit Court Rule 83.
Note to 2004 Amendment:
The 2004 amendment clarified the process for clerks of court providing notice of entry of judgment and copies of the final signed order to the parties. It made clear that service is to be made on the attorney of a represented applicant and only on applicants when they are proceeding pro se.
Last amended by Order dated April 15, 2014.