The advisory committee is comprised of superior court and appellate court judicial officers, court administrators, attorneys and law office staff, and subject-matter experts in small claims law and procedure and in court–connected alternative dispute resolution programs. The committee reports to the Judicial Council and is overseen by the Rules and Projects Committee of the council. Members are appointed by the Chief Justice for a three-year term. The period for nominations and applications for membership is generally in April and May of each year.
- Hon. Raymond M. Cadei, Chair, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento
- Hon. Ann I. Jones, Vice-Chair, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
- Hon. Donald F. Armento, Commissioner of the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego
- Hon. Helen Bendix, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
- Ms. Victoria B. Brizuela, Branch Manager, West Justice Center, Superior Court of California, County of Orange
- Ms. Pamela Brown-McGill, J.D., Former Paralegal
- Hon. Victoria Gerrard Chaney, Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division One
- Hon. David M. Chapman, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Riverside
- Mr. Keith D. Chidlaw, Attorney, Schuering Zimmerman & Doyle, LLP
- Mr. William T. Chisum, Attorney, Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard
- Ms. Jacqueline Davenport, Assistant Court Executive Officer Superior Court of California, County of El Dorado
- Ms. Kristin Escalante, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Los Angeles Regional Office
- Hon. Elizabeth A. Grimes, Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight
- Hon. Michael W. Jones, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Placer
- Mr. Brian Kabateck, Attorney, Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP
- Hon. Harold E. Kahn, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco
- Hon. Beth A. R. McGowen, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
- Mr. Robert Axel Olson, Greines Martin Stein et al.
- Hon. Donald J. Proietti, Assistant Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Merced
- Hon. Stanford E. Reichert, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino
- Ms. Cynthia L. Rice, Director, California Rural Legal Assistance
- Hon. Michael A. Sachs, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino
- Hon. Brad Seligman, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda
- Ms. Elizabeth Strickland, ADR Administrator Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
- Ms. Alicia Vojnik, Director Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
- Hon. Debre Katz Weintraub, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
- Ms. Twila S. White, Attorney, Law Office of Twila S. White
- Hon. Tamara Wood, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Shasta
- Mr. Alan Z. Yudkowsky, Principal, Law Offices of Alan Z. Yudkowsky
- Mr. Saul Bercovitch, The State Bar of California (Advisory Member)
Judicial Council Staff to the Committee
- Ms. Christy Simons, Lead Staff, Attorney, Legal Services, Judicial Council of California
This committee is responsible for providing recommendations to the council relating to the administration of justice in civil proceedings. It is concerned with all aspects of civil practice in the trial courts, from small claims cases to the most complex litigation.
The committee makes recommendations for changes to rules, standards, and forms. It considers proposals from courts, the bar, and the public for improving the administration of justice. It considers methods of strengthening the judicial system through the use of alternative dispute resolution methods, more effective case management, procedural changes, and pilot projects. The committee also reviews pending legislation relating to civil cases, develops legislative proposals, and makes recommendations to the council on legislative issues.
The Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee has six standing subcommittees as well as ad hoc subcommittees formed as needed to address particular issues, all of which make proposals reviewed and acted on by the advisory committee as a whole. The standing subcommittees are as follows:
- The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Subcommittee identifies and studies issues and concerns relating to ADR in civil cases and makes recommendations to the full committee on these issues. The subcommittee focuses on developing proposals to enhance the use and quality of court-connected ADR programs.
- The Case Management and Complex Litigation Subcommittee identifies issues in the areas of court administration and civil procedure and recommends appropriate changes to the rules. Several years ago, the subcommittee undertook a comprehensive review of case management practices and developed new and amended case management rules that were adopted statewide. This subcommittee also develops and recommends rules and legislation in the area of complex litigation, including uniform statewide rules for class actions and for complex coordinated cases, and updates the Deskbook on the Management of Complex Civil Litigation.
- The Discovery Subcommittee was formed to deal exclusively with discovery issues, problems, and proposals. This subcommittee has identified provisions of the Discovery Act that are unclear, involve substantive omissions, or have not stood up in practice, as well as areas that need improvement. It also develops new discovery rules and form interrogatories. It has developed and will continue to develop recommendations regarding electronic discovery.
- The Legislative Subcommittee develops positions on proposed legislation affecting civil practice and procedure through regular telephone conference calls during the legislative session and makes recommendations to the council.
- The Rules and Forms Subcommittee revises and develops standardized forms for use by the public and attorneys in a number of areas of civil practice. Forms recently amended include name change petitions, wage garnishment forms, and proofs of service. The subcommittee also works on uniform statewide rules, and is working on revising the current rules to facilitate electronic service, filing, and storage of court documents.
- The Small Claims and Limited Civil Cases Subcommittee evaluates legislation and recommends rules, standards, and forms relating to limited civil and small claims cases. It considers measures to improve access to small claims court. The subcommittee proposes plain language small claims forms and instruction sheets; proposes informational materials; reviews various forms, rules, and legislation relating to small claims and limited civil cases, including in the areas of fee waivers, small claims advisors, and unlawful detainer proceedings.
Identify issues and concerns confronting the judiciary regarding civil procedure, practice, and case management and suggest to the Judicial Council appropriate solutions and responses. The committee is continually reviewing legislation and proposing rules and forms to improve the courts’ ability to manage cases in a timely and effective manner, while maintaining the quality of justice. Reducing the cost of civil litigation, improving access to the courts, and establishing uniform statewide rules and procedures are committee priorities.
The Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee was established as part of the council’s reorganization in 1992. Prior to that time, there were several council committees in specialized areas of civil law, including the Small Claims, the Calendar and Caseflow Management, and the Mandatory Arbitration Rules Committees.