Shrinking budgets, increasing case loads, and limitations on the amount of time allocated to trials of important cases has caused a dramatic increase in the use of “private judges” to provide a forum for dispute resolution. The sometimes lengthy waiting time to get to trial has contributed to the increase in "Private Judging." Rather than wait a significant period of time to conclude issues which cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation, litigants have turned to a trial alternative which utilizes “private judges.”
Now, the ease and convenience of using ZOOM Video Conferencing makes conducting a trial with a Private Judge easier than ever ! Conduct and attend a trial from any number of locations, making it more cost-effective and convenient forcounsel and clients.
Private Judges are typically experienced, retired judicial officers who are selected by the attorneys to hear and determine family law and/or civil cases.
The "Private Judge" is compensated by one or both litigants.
While there is no requirement that a private judge have prior judicial experience, most private judges are former Superior Court Judges.
Prior judicial experience provides a basis for evaluating the experience and knowledge of the particular judicial officer and gives each side an opportunity to weigh and evaluate that Judge's suitability for hearing the particular case.
The standards of proof are typically the same as in a public trial.
The outcome is enforceable in appellate courts.
The litigants are generally free, by mutual agreement, to modify procedures and/or rules that would otherwise govern in a public courtroom.
See THE PRIVATE JUDGE: CALIFORNIA ANOMALY OR WAVE OF THE FUTURE? By Jill S. Robbins, Judge (Ret.)
A number of jurisdictions have comprehensive rules governing the use of private judges. The Judge Robbins’ article, for example, refers to relevant portions of the California Rules of Court and those of the Los Angeles County Superior Court which will provide additional information to interested readers, including references to forms.
JUDGE PRO TEMS AND SPECIAL MASTERS
Another alternative litigants may consider is an agreement or "Stipulation" to have a Judge Pro Tem or Special Master hear their case. If both sides agree on a particular Judge Pro Tem or Special Master, the Court may consider appointing or assigning the specific Judge Pro Tem or Special Master to preside over the case.