Lawyers often refer difficult cases for Private Judging. In these cases, an experienced lawyer or retired judge will be hired to serve in some capacity to resolve issues in dispute, as a means of keeping a case out of the court system. The Private Judge may serve in any capacity elected by the parties, from supervising settlement negotiations to making final decisions binding on the parties.
Private Judges may supervise negotiations, as a substitute for the court required settlement process: By hiring a jointly selected judge, litigants have an opportunity to pick the person to help settle their cases, and their matter may proceed uninterrupted in a private office rather than a conference room at the courthouse open to the public.
Private Judges may also be hired to make decisions in your case. Again, your lawyers can choose the person making the decisions and matters are handled in a private setting. Occasionally, your lawyers may suggest using a Private Judge to independently supervise division or assets, or examine documents and make recommendations or even binding decisions. Because a case may proceed on a less formal basis than courtroom rules and etiquette require, you may save money and time, and have a better result. You should discuss this option with your lawyer.
While a lawyer may act as your mediator when you do not have a lawyer, most Private Judging is limited to cases where both sides have their own legal representation.