Judicial Settlement Conference Program Procedures
- Judge decides to order case to a judicial settlement conference approximately 30 days before trial.
- 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.
- After the parties agree on a settlement judge, they inform the referring circuit court judge's office of their selection.
- The referring judge's office will contact the settlement judge and do the following:
- Verify whether the judge will accept the case.
- Provide the settlement judge with dates and times that space is available in the courthouse to conduct the settlement conference.
- Order the case to Judicial Settlement Conference and designate the agreed upon judge.
Note: Please see the Checklist for Court Personnel for more details.
- If the parties cannot agree on a judge, the court will choose a settlement judge.
- 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.
- 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.
- Counsel and the settlement judge should sign the Agreement Concerning Settlement Conference Process form, which addresses confidentiality, at the beginning of the conference.
- 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.
- The settlement judge will submit a Settlement Conference Expense Voucher to OES to be paid for his services.
- The Order of Designation and Referral to Settlement Conference should be attached to the Reimbursement Voucher when it is submitted for payment.
- The settlement judge will submit a Settlement Conference Report Form and exit surveys to OES.