Research guides

Pennsylvania Jury Practice

Voir Dire & Jury Selection

"Voir dire is the process by which the court and the lawyers first question jurors and then decide which members of the jury pool will hear a particular case. Although often described as a process of jury selection, voir dire is in fact a process of de-selection in which lawyers seek to identify the least suitable jurors for the case and then have these jurors either struck for cause or excused through a peremptory challenge." James J. Gobert et al., Jury Selection: The Law, Art and Science of Selecting a Jury § 10.1 (3rd ed. 2016-2017).

The resources below include information related to voir dire in Pennsylvania. The resources include sources available on Jenkins' member databases and in print in the library. Onsite Lexis and Westlaw access is noted when available.

Court Rules

Court rules often outline the procedures surrounding voir dire. The following rules focus on voir dire in Pennsylvania civil and criminal procedure. Please note that additional rules may also apply.

Civil Rules:

Pa.R.C.P. 220.1: Preliminary Instructions to Prospective and Selected Jurors
Pa.R.C.P. 220.3: Voir Dire

Criminal Rules:

Pa.R.Crim.P., Chapter 6, Part C(1): Impaneling Jury

Research Tip

For additional places to find Pennsylvania Court Rules, including in print and on the library's Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law computers, see the Pennsylvania Court Rules - State guide.

Forms

The following resources include sample forms related to voir dire in Pennsylvania.

Additional resources may also include forms. See the other sections below for a list of additional resources.

PA Legal Forms
Includes "Voir Dire Examination".

Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers.
See 149.14 Challenges of Individual Jurors--Voir Dire (Pa. R.C.P. No. 220.1).

West's Pennsylvania Forms West
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See "Civil Procedure", Chapter 54: Voir Dire.

Member Databases

The following member databases include information related to voir dire in Pennsylvania. Members must be logged in to jenkinslaw.org to access these databases. These databases are also available in the library.

PA Legal Forms
Includes "Voir Dire Examination".

Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia
Available on the LexisNexis Digital Library. See "Jury" Chapter 2: Selecting and Summoning Jurors (vol. 29).
Also on the library's Lexis computers and in print.

Onsite Print & Electronic

The following print resources include information related to voir dire in Pennsylvania. Some resources published by LexisNexis and West/Thomson Reuters may be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers. See below for more information.

Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers.
See 149.14 Challenges of Individual Jurors--Voir Dire (Pa. R.C.P. No. 220.1).

Goodrich-Amram 2d: Procedural Rules Service, with Forms West
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Rule 220.1: Preliminary Instructions to Prospective and Selected Jurors and Rule 220.3: Voir Dire.
Library also has previous edition: see all.

Pennsylvania Criminal Practice West
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Chapter 27: Trial, §§ 27:9 - 27:14. Additional sections may also be relevant; use the index to find additional material.
Library also has previous edition: see all.

Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers and the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See "Jury", Chapter 2: Selecting and Summoning Jurors. Library also has previous edition: see all.

Pennsylvania Trial Advocacy Handbook Bisel
See §§ 7.02-7.06: Voir Dire.

Pennsylvania Trial Guide: Criminal Bisel
See Chapter 5: Commencement of Trial: Selection of the Jury.
Library also has previous editions: see all.

Pennsylvania Trial Guide: Trial Procedure Bisel
See Chapter 32: Selection and Swearing of the Jury.
Library also has previous editions: see all.

Standard Pennsylvania Practice 2d West
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
For civil matters, see Chapter 47: Jury Service, Selection, and Impanelment.
For criminal matters, see Chapter 135, Part II, Subpart C: Selection of Jurors (§§ 135:63 - 135:129).
Library also has previous edition: see all.

West's Pennsylvania Forms West
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See "Civil Procedure", Chapter 54: Voir Dire.

Onsite PBI Publications

In conjunction with its continuing legal education courses, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) produces books related to voir dire in Pennsylvania. When a researcher has difficulty finding an answer in the manuals or form books, it is a good idea to turn to a PBI publication for guidance.

Commercial Litigation Institute
See Chapter B, Section 2: Voir Dire in the Business Litigation Case.

Criminal Law Symposium 2018
See Chapter R: Starting Your Trial Off Right: Voir Dire and Opening Statements.

Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure: Elements, Analysis, and Application
See Chapter 35: Jury Selection. Library also has previous editions: see all.

Preparing a Witness to Testify
See Chapter 3, Section 1: Jury Selection: Myths and Realities about Jurors.

Trial Tactics, Tips & Techniques: The Original
See Chapter 2: Jury Selection

Trying a Case in State Court: From Start to Finish
See Chapter 5: Voir Dire and Jury Selection.
Library also has previous edition: see all.

Onsite Philadelphia Resources

Some county specific resources include information relating to voir dire in that county. Listed below are resources specific to Philadelphia. For a list of resources for other Pennsylvania counties, see the Pennsylvania County Practice research guide.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Civil Practice Manual Pennsylvania Bar Institute
See § 14-2.1 Jury Selection.
See the Forms section for related forms, including "Jury Questionnaire".
Library has previous editions: see all.