What does private judge mean?

In legal disputes, most people think of the traditional court system and the image of a judge in a black robe. However, there is another type of judge that many are unaware of: a private judge. Unlike public judges, who work for the government, private judges are hired by individuals or parties to act as neutral decision-makers in a legal dispute.

Any qualified legal professional can serve as a private judge. They could be a retired judge, an experienced attorney, or a law professor with a distinguished legal background.

The private judging process is similar to the public court system. The parties present their arguments and evidence to the judge. They will then make a decision based on the law and the facts presented. However, it is often faster than public court proceedings. In the public system, court dates can be delayed due to a backlog of cases or scheduling conflicts. In contrast, private judges can schedule hearings at a convenient time and place for all parties involved. This allows for a more efficient and timely resolution of the dispute.

Additionally, private judging can be less formal than public court proceedings. In a courtroom, many strict rules and procedures must be followed. This can create a stressful and intimidating environment for those involved in a contentious dispute, like a divorce. Private judges, however, have more flexibility to tailor the process to the specific needs of the parties involved. This can lead to a more relaxed and less adversarial experience.

What Is the Definition of Private Judging?

Private judging is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It allows parties in a legal case to hire a neutral third party to hear and decide their case outside of the traditional court system. Private judging is an increasingly popular option for parties who want to avoid the delays and expenses associated with the traditional court system. Private judging is typically used in civil cases, such as:

  • Business disputes
  • Contract disputes
  • Family law matters

What Are the Benefits of Private Judging?

There are several benefits to choosing private judging over the traditional court system. These benefits include:

  • Privacy: Having a private judge allows parties to keep their legal dispute out of the public eye. Court proceedings are typically open to the public. Private judging is conducted in a confidential setting.
  • Speed: Private judging is typically faster than going through the traditional court system. Parties can choose a private judge who has the time and availability to hear their case. They can also schedule hearings and meetings on a timeline that works for them.
  • Flexibility: Parties can choose a judge who has expertise in their specific legal matter. This can result in a more knowledgeable and informed decision-maker.
  • Control: In private judging, parties have more control over the process and the outcome. They can choose the private judge, the location of the hearings, and the timeline for the case.
  • Cost: Private judging can be less expensive than going through the traditional court system. While private judges charge a fee for their services, parties can avoid expensive court costs and litigation.

How Much Does a Private Judge Cost in California?

The cost of a private judge in California can vary depending on the judge’s experience, the complexity of the case, and the location of the hearings. Private judges typically charge an hourly rate that can range from $300 to $1,000 per hour. However, parties may be able to negotiate a flat fee for the entire case.

In addition to the private judge’s fee, parties may need to pay for other expenses associated with the private judging process. These expenses can include court reporters, deposition transcripts, and expert witness fees.


Q: What are the qualifications to become a private judge?

A: Private judges are typically experienced attorneys or retired judges who have undergone special training and certification to serve as private judges. They must meet specific qualifications and have the necessary expertise to hear the specific type of case at hand. In California, private judges must be approved by the court. They must also have completed specific training and education requirements.

Q: What is the process for selecting a private judge?

A: Parties in a legal dispute can select a private judge through mutual agreement. They can choose a private judge who has expertise in the specific legal matter at hand and is available to hear the case on their desired timeline. Selecting a private judge can be done through:

  • An online directory of private judges
  • A referral from other attorneys or legal professionals
  • The local bar association

Q: How long does the private judging process take?

A: The length of the private judging process can vary depending on:

  • The case’s complexity
  • The availability of the private judge
  • The cooperation of the parties involved

However, the private judging process is typically faster than going through the traditional court system. This is because the parties have more control over the scheduling of hearings and the case’s timeline.

Q: How is the decision of a private judge enforced?

A: The decision of a private judge can be enforced in the same way as a court judgment. In California, private judges can issue a judgment that can be filed with the court and enforced as if a court judge issued it. If a party fails to comply with the private judge’s decision, the other party can seek enforcement through the court.

Q: Are private judges required to follow the same legal procedures and rules as court judges?

A: Private judges must follow the same legal procedures and rules as court judges. They must adhere to the California Code of Civil Procedure and ensure that both parties have an opportunity to present evidence and arguments. The decision of a private judge is subject to review by the court. It must be based on the evidence and legal arguments presented in the case.

Contact McCunn Law Today

If you have any questions about private judging or want to learn more about the process, contact McCunn Law today. Our experienced attorneys can help you understand your legal rights. We can also advise you on the best course of action in your situation. We provide comprehensive legal services and personalized representation to ensure your case is handled efficiently and effectively. Contact us today to schedule a case evaluation.