Temporary Judge Program

Pursuant to Rule 2.818(b)(1)(a), an attorney may not serve as a court-appointed temporary judge: (1) If the attorney, in any type of case, is appearing on the same day in the same courthouse as an attorney or as a party; (2) If the attorney, in the same type of case, is presently a party to any action or proceeding in the court; or (3) If, in a family law or unlawful detainer case, one party is self-represented and the other party is represented by an attorney or is an attorney.

Temporary Judge Application

If you are interested in becoming a Temporary Judge or would like to renew your application, please complete the Temporary Judge Application and turn it into Merced Superior Court Administration, 627 W. 21st Street, Merced, CA 95340.

Requirements

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED FOR APPOINTMENT AND SERVICE

The presiding judge may not appoint an attorney to serve as a temporary judge unless the attorney has been admitted to practice as a member of the State Bar of California for at least 10 years before the appointment. However, for good cause, the presiding judge may permit an attorney who has been admitted to practice for at least 5 years to serve as a temporary judge.

CONDITIONS FOR APPOINTMENT BY THE COURT

The presiding judge may appoint an attorney to serve as a temporary judge only if the attorney:

  • • is a member in good standing of the State Bar and has no disciplinary action pending;
  • • has not pled guilty or no contest to a felony, or has not be convicted of a felony that has not been reversed;
  • • has satisfied the education and training requirements;
  • • has satisfied all other general conditions that the court may establish for appointment of an attorney as a temporary judge in that court; and
  • • has satisfied any additional conditions that the court may require for an attorney to be appointed as a temporary judge for a particular assignment or type of case in that court.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING REQUIREMENTS

The presiding judge may appoint an attorney to serve as a temporary judge only if the following minimum training requirements are satisfied:

  1. Mandatory training on bench conduct and demeanor Before appointment, the attorney must have attended and successfully completed, within the previous three years, a course of at least 3 hours duration on the subjects identified in rule 2.813(a) approved by the court in which the attorney will serve. This course must be taken in person and be taught by a qualified judicial officer or other person approved by the Judicial Council.
  2. Mandatory training in ethics Before appointment, the attorney must have attended and successfully completed, within the previous three years, a course of at least 3 hours duration on the subjects identified in rule 2.813(b) approved by the court in which the attorney will serve. This course may be taken by any means approved by the court, including in-person, by broadcast with participation, or online.
  3. Substantive training Before appointment, the attorney must have attended and successfully completed, within the previous three years, a course on the substantive law in each subject area in which the attorney will serve as a temporary judge. These courses may be taken by any means approved by the court, including in person, by broadcast with participation, or online. The substantive courses have the following minimum requirements:
    • a. Small Claims
      An attorney serving as a temporary judge in small claims cases must have attended and successfully completed, within the previous three years, a course of at least 3 hours duration on the subjects identified in rule 2.813(c) approved by the court in which the attorney will serve.
    • b. Traffic
      An attorney serving as a temporary judge in traffic cases must have attended and completed, within the previous three years, a course of at least 3 hours duration on the subjects identified in rule 2.813(d) approved by the court in which the attorney will serve.
    • c. Other subject areas (amended effective January 1, 2007)
      If the court assigns attorneys to serve as temporary judges in other substantive areas such as civil law, family law, juvenile law, unlawful detainers, or case management, the court must determine what additional training is required and what additional courses are required before an attorney may serve as a temporary judge in each of those subject areas. The court may also require that an attorney possess additional years of practical experience in each substantive area before being assigned to serve as a temporary judge in that subject area.
    • d. Settlement
      An attorney need not be a temporary judge to assist the court in settlement conferences. However, an attorney assisting the court with settlement conferences who performs any judicial function, such as entering a settlement on the record under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6, must be a qualified temporary judge who has satisfied the training requirements under (c)1 and (c)2 of this rule.

RESOURCES

The following rules of the California Rules of Court apply to Temporary Judges:

Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1-710.
The following sections of the Canons of Judicial Ethics relating to fairness are applicable to Temporary Judges: Canons 2A, 2C, 3B(5), 3B(6), 3B(8), 3C(1), 3C(2), 3C(4), 3E, 5B, and 6D(3)(a).

ONLINE TRAINING COURSES

MORE INFORMATION

For more information regarding the Temporary Judge Program, please contact the Court Calendar Manager at (209) 725-4151.

© 2015 Superior Court of California, County of Merced