Small Claims Volunteer pro Tem Judges - Marin Superior Court

Small Claims icon Project Name: Small Claims Volunteer pro Tem Judges
Court: Marin Superior Court
   Links: Court Volunteer Website

Overview/Program Description:

The court has elicited assistance from approximately 15 local attorneys to volunteer periodically to hear the small claims calendar. The attorneys were required to attend all mandatory trainings on judicial demeanor and conduct, ethics, and small claims subject matter prior to being added to the court's panel.

The small claims clerk manages and coordinates the assignments of the pro tem judges. Most pro tems serve approximately four to six times per year. Small claims calendars are heard two days per week and pro tem judges preside over all hearings, unless a party declines to stipulate to the pro tem judge. In these rare instances, the case is assigned to a civil judge. Small claims trials de novo are heard by the judges, not by pro tems. Annually, the judges honor and recognize the attorneys who serve as pro tem judges at an annual Marin County Bar Association luncheon.

Program Benefits/Savings:

The program has been very successful. It is so popular with local attorneys that all small claims cases have been heard by pro tem judges for more than three years. Since the attorneys serve as volunteers, there is no cost to the court to operate this program. Because this program has been so well received and so many attorneys are willing to volunteer, the court is always timely on hearing small claims cases. Attorneys who serve on the panel report that they enjoy the work and find it rewarding. The judges very much appreciate the expert legal assistance with these cases.