Private Judging

The parties who face legal disputes have a variety of alternative dispute resolution options available to them. For instance, along with mediation and arbitration, they may seek resolution of a legal matter with a private judge. A private judge is a non-judicial officer who nonetheless serves as the judicial authority for a particular legal dispute. The parties to the dispute select the judicial officer amongst themselves. Also, they are responsible for compensating the judge for the services. Typically, a private judge has the same authority as a traditional judge presiding over a legal dispute.

Private judging has three distinguishing characteristics. First, a private judge can manage a legal dispute only if the parties mutually agree to this form of dispute resolution. Next, like traditional judging, a judgment from a private judge is binding on the parties. Finally, the parties can appeal a private judgment much like a traditional court judgment.

A private judge can serve as a temporary judge or a referee between the parties. In order to be a temporary judge, the individual must be a licensed attorney with the State Bar. The parties to a legal dispute can appoint a temporary judge only after a lawsuit has been filed, and with a written agreement. The judge presiding over the lawsuit must approve the agreement and the private judge the parties have appointed to the legal dispute. Alternatively, a referee does not need to be a licensed attorney. A referee can be appointed before a lawsuit is filed and the parties have the power to designate the referee’s authority in an agreement. Finally, a referee has only twenty days to render a decision in the matter.

Private judging is particularly attractive to parties because the parties can have more control over the judicial entity that governs over the case. This can be particularly helpful for parties who are involved in a case within a specific area of law that requires a specialized understanding or experience. In these circumstances, they can elect a party who has experience in that particular area of law to serve as a private judge. Additionally, the parties can modify procedural and evidentiary rules to fit the particularities of their case. Unlike court trials, cases with a private judge also move much more quickly. The private judge sets the dates for the various hearings and trial. Since the private judge’s calendar will not have as much cases, the hearings move quicker and the trial can be set sooner.

At our law firm, we are well–versed in various forms of alternative dispute resolution. Choosing private judging as the means to seek legal resolution in a matter requires an attorney who is familiar with the specific procedures and requirements. Salar Atrizadeh, Esq. has assisted his clients through different alternative dispute resolution methods with his skill and expertise. Mr. Atrizadeh is a people connoisseur and has perfected a special method to bring the involved parties to a quick resolution. You may contact the Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh to discuss the alternative dispute resolution techniques available for your specific legal matter.