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 are 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 contacts the settlement judge and:
    1. Verifies whether the judge will accept the case.
    2. Provides the settlement judge with dates and times that space is available in the courthouse to conduct the settlement conference.
    3. Orders the case to Judicial Settlement Conference and designates 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 chooses a settlement judge.
  6. Once the settlement judge is designated and the case ordered to a judicial settlement conference, the referring circuit court:
    1. mails the settlement judge a Confirmation of Appointment with the parties' contact information as well as a copy of the Order of Designation and Referral to Settlement Conference;
    2. mails a copy of the Order of Referral to Dispute Resolution Services; and
    3. mails a copy of the Order of Referral to counsel and a cover letter with any additional details that would be helpful.
      Note: Please show only "[Address is Confidential]" for the Settlement Judge on ALL correspondence, placing his actual mailing address only on the envelope.
  7. The settlement judge and counsel coordinate arrangements for the date, time and location of the settlement conference. Counsel schedules 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.
    Note: Please see the Checklist for Lawyers for details regarding the pre-conference brief.
  8. The settlement judge may mail a letter to counsel informing them that they must submit a pre-conference brief and confirming the date, time and location of the conference.
  9. At the beginning of the conference, all parties, counsel and settlement judge should sign the Agreement Concerning Settlement Conference Process form, which addresses confidentiality.
  10. At the conclusion of the settlement conference, the parties inform the referring circuit court in writing if the case settles and complete exit surveys.
  11. The settlement judge submits a Settlement Conference Per Diem and Travel Expense Voucher for payment.
  12. The Order of Designation and Referral to Settlement Conference must be attached to the Settlement Conference Per Diem and Travel Expense Voucher when it is submitted for payment.
  13. The settlement judge submits a Settlement Conference Report Form to OES.
  14. Parties/counsel send completed Exit Survey forms to Dispute Resolution Services.