Virginia's Judicial System


Judicial Settlement Conference Program Procedures

  1. Judge decides to order case to a judicial settlement conference approximately 30 days before trial.
  2. All parties receive a list of settlement judges for the parties to choose from. Judges' travel limitations will be described on this list. Given statewide budgetary constraints, parties are asked to select a judge located within 100 miles of the settlement conference site when possible.
  3. After the parties agree on a settlement judge, they inform the referring circuit court judge's office of their selection.
  4. The referring judge's office will contact the settlement judge and do the following:
    1. Verify whether the judge will accept the case.
    2. Provide the settlement judge with dates and times that space is available in the courthouse to conduct the settlement conference.
    3. Order the case to Judicial Settlement Conference and designate the agreed upon judge.
      Note: Please see the Checklist for Court Personnel for more details.
  5. If the parties cannot agree on a judge, the court will choose a settlement judge.
  6. Once the settlement judge is designated and the case ordered to a judicial settlement conference, the referring circuit court will mail the settlement judge a confirmation letter with the parties' contact information as well as a copy of the Order of Designation and Referral to Settlement Conference. The referring circuit court will also mail a copy of the Order of Referral to Dispute Resolution Services. The referring circuit court will mail a letter to counsel informing them that they must submit a pre-conference brief to the settlement judge.
    Note: Please see the Checklist for Lawyers for details regarding the pre-conference brief.
  7. The settlement judge and counsel will coordinate arrangements for the date, time and location of the settlement conference. Counsel will schedule a pre-settlement conference call with the settlement judge to ensure that parties with settlement authority attend the settlement conference. The settlement conference will usually be held in the courthouse.
  8. Counsel and the settlement judge should sign the Agreement Concerning Settlement Conference Process form, which addresses confidentiality, at the beginning of the conference.
  9. At the conclusion of the settlement conference, the parties will inform the referring circuit court in writing if the case settles and complete exit surveys.
  10. The settlement judge will submit a Settlement Conference Expense Voucher to OES to be paid for his services.
  11. The Order of Designation and Referral to Settlement Conference should be attached to the Reimbursement Voucher when it is submitted for payment.
  12. The settlement judge will submit a Settlement Conference Report Form and exit surveys to OES.