U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Adjudication by Privately Compensated Judges in Texas

NCJ Number
Baylor Law Review Volume: 36 Issue: 4 Dated: (Fall 1984) Pages: 813-853
W F Newton; D G Swenson
Date Published
41 pages
The Texas law permitting adjudication by privately compensated judges appears to offer substantial benefits to the litigating public and could become a widely used alternative dispute resolution mechanism which will save both time and money.
Such a system should also reduce the pressure on the existing judicial system and should thus make the regular court system more efficient. The law permits trial by a special judge for district court civil cases if the parties agree. The procedures do not raise issues of equal protection or due process, but concern about first amendment rights makes it important to provide public access to proceedings. Before a referral to a special judge trial can occur, three conditions must be met. The case must be civil, the parties must agree, and the judge of the district court where the cause of action is filed must order the referral. The legislature needs to change the law in several areas. It should (1) not permit special judges where continuing jurisdiction is needed, (2) ensure that special judges are fully qualified, (3) require trials to be public, (4) remove the prohibition on awarding attorneys' fees to a party, and (5) use the term 'report' rather than 'verdict' to refer to the determination of the special judge. With these changes, the law will provide for an even better alternative dispute resolution system. A total of 224 footnotes, a table giving a comparative analysis of nine States' laws, and appendixes presenting forms used and proposed amendments to the law are provided.


No download available