How Can I Hire A Private Judge?

In Colorado, a private judge can be appointed in a domestic relations case. To have a private judge in your case, both parties must:

  • Agree to the procedure.
  • Mutually decide who will hear the case.
  • Privately pay the judge.

In addition, the appointed judge must be a person who formerly served as a justice or judge in the Colorado Courts for more than 6 years.

Once these requirements are met, the appointed judge will manage and hear the parties' case as though it was before the District Court, and the judge’s decisions are submitted to and become the orders of the District Court. Appointment of a private judge allows the parties to schedule the litigation based on the needs of their individual case, rather than based on the court’s docket. The procedure allows the parties access to the same appeal process that they would have in the District Court. A private judge must be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court under C.R.S. §13-3-111 (C.R.C.P. 122).

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Why Should I Hire A Private Judge?

Depending on your situation, it may be incredibly beneficial to hire a private judge. Not only do you have more of a say in who you will present your case to, you will likely have it heard far sooner than you would have if you limited yourself to a court-appointed justice. However, it’s important to remember that one party can’t select the judge of their choosing in an attempt to put themselves in an advantageous position. Both parties need to agree, and that may involve additional negotiations in order to determine your final choice.

Another benefit is the increased level of privacy a private judge can provide. Your cases held in private are still considered public records, but holding the proceedings outside of the courthouse can give you an added layer of privacy by preventing random passersby from entering the courtroom – something that can happen during a typical trial.