Temporary Judge Program Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Temporary Judge?
An attorney that volunteers his or her time and is trained to hear and decide cases. Also, called a “judge pro tem”.
How do I become a Temporary Judge?
The information regarding Requirements and Application to become a Temporary Judge is available online. If you have any questions after reading these sections, you can go to the Contact Us section for the contact information.
Do I need to be a member of the California State Bar?
Yes. You need to be a member in good standing for ten (10) years. For good cause, the Presiding Judge may permit an attorney admitted to practice for at least years to qualify
Do I need to attend training, and if so, what is the training?
Yes. in order to serve or continue to serve as a Temporary Judge, two courses are mandatory – Ethics and Bench Conduct and Demeanor. Ethics can be taken online. Applicants must attend the Bench Conduct and Demeanor training in person. An additional class from one of more of the following areas must be completed before an attorney can be certified and assigned:
- Small Claims is a two module training (online training available)
- Traffic (online training available)
- Civil Harassment (online training available)
Temporary Judges can only sit in courtrooms which handle matters in which they have been trained and certified.
Am I required to take any assignments?
Yes, if approved to sit as a Temporary Judge, you are required to sit a minimum of four (4) times each year.
How frequent are Temporary Judge assignments?
This depends on the needs of the Court and the areas in which you have been certified to sit. Your availability, location preferences, and subject matter preferences will all be taken into consideration. We will attempt to assign you according to these factors in conjunction with the Court’s needs. We also try to spread the assignments among all of the certified Temporary Judges so that everyone has an opportunity to sit. If you have concerns about the frequency of assignments, please go to the Contact Us tab to obtain the contact information and reach out to us to discuss the matter. A Temporary Judge performs a great service to the community and the Superior Court so we will try our best to accommodate your schedule.
If I practice in a specialized area only, will I be disqualified from certain assignments as a Temporary Judge?
If you are a criminal prosecutor or criminal defense attorney, you will not be assigned to a traffic courtroom. If the principal portion of your practice is either representing the Plaintiff/Petitioner or Defendant/Respondent in Small Claims or Civil Harassment, you will not be assigned to a courtroom that hears these matters. You are otherwise eligible to serve in other subject matters after you have completed the required training.
Is the performance of the Temporary Judge reviewed by the court?
California Rule of Court 10.745 requires the performance of a Temporary Judge to be reviewed on a regular basis and permits monitoring by various means as well. Upon receipt of a complaint, the judge presiding over the program will investigate the complaint and prepare a response. If a complaint is received, you will be notified and your input may be requested during the investigation. Also, as indicated in the application you submitted to the Court, you have a continuing duty to disclose any activity as outlined in California Rule of Court 10.744(b) and (c ).
Do I need to resubmit a new application every three years?
Yes. The eligibility period for serving as a Temporary Judge pursuant to California Rules of Court. Rule 2.812, is valid for a three-year period. At the conclusion of the three-year period, a renewal application must be submitted in order to continue serving as a Temporary Judge. Attorneys renewing their status as a Temporary Judge are also required to provide verification of the mandatory Bench Conduct and Demeanor and Ethics training and one substantive matter. To avoid a gap in your service, you should keep track of these dates independently.
Can I get MCLE credit for training?
Yes, you can receive Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credits for your coursework to serve as a Temporary Judge.
Can I advertise that I have been certified as a Temporary Judge of the Superior Court?
California Code of Judicial Ethics, Cannon 6D.9(a)-(b) reads:
(a) A temporary judge appointed under rule 2.810 of the California Rules of Court, from the time of appointment and continuing indefinitely after the termination of the appointment, shall not use his or her title or service as a temporary judge as a description of the lawyer’s current or former principal profession, vocation, or occupation on a ballot designation for judicial or other elected office, in an advertisement about the lawyer’s law firm or business, or on a letterhead, business card, or other document that is distributed to the public identifying the lawyer or the lawyer’s law firm.
(b) This Canon does not prohibit a temporary judge appointed under rule 2.810 of the California Rules of Court from using his or her title or service as a temporary judge on an application to serve as a temporary judge, including an application in other courts, on an application for employment or for an appointment to a judicial position, on an individual resume or a descriptive statement submitted in connection with an application for employment or for appointment or election to a judicial position, or in response to a request for information about the public service in which the lawyer has engaged.”
The Superior Court takes this policy and any infraction of it very seriously.