Private Judging

Discovery Referee/Special Master

Due to the current court budget crisis, the courts are routinely turning to "special masters" and "discovery referees" (as permitted under California Code of Civil procedure (CCP) sections 635 through 645.2) to handle some legal matters and complicated, administrative issues. This can be cost and time effective, especially if the case involves several different issues, multiple parties, and large amount of documents. The discovery referee and special master actively and closely manage the case by coordinating discovery and resolving discovery disputes, so settlement discussions can be productive.

A special master serves as an extension of the court, so they may marshall any evidence, almost like a receiver. A discovery referee usually engages in discovery matters, but also may try parts of a case and create findings of fact or law that become public record.

The parties are encouraged to agree to a mutually acceptable neutral to serve as a referee, usually a former judge or well respected practitioner with a desired expertise. If they cannot agree on a referee, the court will request the parties submit a list of names so the court can assist in the selection process.

Private Judge or Judge Pro Tem

The parties mutually agree, usually on a former judge, to serve as a Judge Pro Tem in a private trial. The parties can agree the verdict will be binding or non binding, as well as who the triers of fact will be, either a jury or the judge. The parties may hire jurors utilizing a local jury research company; Judicate West can assist with these arrangements. The judge can also be the trier of fact similar to a bench trial and the outcome when utilizing a Judge Pro Tem can be appealable.

Downtown Los Angeles

601 S. Figueroa
Ste 4000
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: 213.223.1113
Fax      : 213.223.1114

Los Angeles Mediation

West Los Angeles

11601 Wilshire Blvd
Ste 2040
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310.442.2100
Fax      : 310.442.2125

Mediators Los Angeles

San Diego

402 W. Broadway
Ste 2400
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619.814.1966
Fax      : 619.814.1967

San Diego Mediation

Santa Ana

1851 East First Street
Ste 1600
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: 714.834.1340
Fax      : 714.834.1344

Orange County Mediation

San Francisco

100 Pine Street
Ste 1950
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.266.1242
Fax      : 415.266.1243

San Francisco Mediation


980 9th Street
Suite 2200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.394.8490
Fax      : 916.394.8495

Sacramento Mediation