Views from the Bench, 1019 UTBJ, Vol. 32, No. 5. 10

AuthorThe Honorable Adam T. Mow.
PositionVol. 32 5 Pg. 10

Views from the Bench

Vol. 32 No. 5 Pg. 10

Utah Bar Journal

October, 2019

September, 2019

What to Expect from a Judicial Settlement Conference

The Honorable Adam T. Mow.

Prior to joining the Third District bench, I had the honor of mediating approximately 200 disputes of various types and complexities. Now as a district court judge, in addition to my regular caseload, I often conduct judicial settlement conferences for matters assigned to other judges. Many district court judges offer this service to litigants. A judicial settlement conference is an opportunity to resolve a dispute short of trial with the assistance of a judge acting as a quasi-mediator. The litigants and their attorneys meet with the settlement judge, who is not the judge assigned to the case, to discuss the issues and how to resolve them.

The assigned judge may order the parties to participate in a judicial settlement conference, especially if the case is ready for trial and other attempts to resolve it have failed. Or. the parties may request a judicial settlement conference. It is up to the assigned judge whether a judicial settlement conference satisfies the alternative dispute resolution requirement under Rule 4-510.05 of the Utah Code of Judicial Administration. Rule 4-510.05 requires that nearly all contested civil matters be subject to alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation.

A judicial settlement conference is cut from the same alternative dispute resolution cloth as mediation. They are similar in that they are efficient uses of time, low risk, and relatively low cost. Like a mediated settlement agreement, an agreement reached in a judicial settlement conference offers many advantages over a judicially imposed decision. There is greater mutual satisfaction with a negotiated outcome, since the parties self-determine the result. And there is an increased likelihood of the parties abiding by their agreement because they have crafted terms they know they can meet. Contrast this with a judgment, where at least one party is typically unhappy with the outcome. There is also no guarantee that the party against whom the judgment is entered can satisfy it.

However, there are important differences between a judicial settlement conference and a mediation. Some differences are obvious. For example, the parties do not compensate a judge for time spent on the judicial settlement conference, while mediators typically charge an hourly or daily rate. The judicial settlement conference occurs at the courthouse. Other differences are more subtle. This article explains aspects of a judicial settlement conference, including some of its differences with mediation.

Duration and...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT