Superior Court >Alternative Dispute Resolution

Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about Civil Short Trial Is the Short Trial Binding?
Yes, a Short Trial is a binding, one-day jury trial.
Who presides over a Short Trial?
An Attorney who has been appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court and given the authority to act as a Judge Pro Tempore.
Is there a right to appeal the verdict?
Unless there is an issue of fraud, there is no right to appeal.
How many jurors are used in a Short Trial?
Ten potential jurors are sent to the Courtroom and four jurors are selected to hear the case.
How is a case presented?
Each party has two hours to present its case. The presentation included an opening statement (10 minutes) presentation of evidence, direct examination of witnesses and closing arguments (10 minutes). Stipulations to documentary evidence and pretrial motions are strongly encouraged and live testimony is discouraged. Witnesses can be used by deposition or affidavit.
Should there be communications with the Judge Pro Tempore?
A telephonic conference should be held at least three days prior to the Short Trial to identify potential problems and clarify procedural concerns.
What types of cases are best suited for Short Trial?
Cases with fairly uncomplicated issues.
Who determines the jury instructions?
The Judge Pro Tempore and the attorneys using the RAJI Preliminary and Standard instructions.
During the Voir Dire process are parties allowed to ask questions?
Yes. Each party is allowed five minutes for follow-up questions.
What time does the Short Trial start and where are they held?
Attorneys and judge pro tempore should meet by 8:30 a.m. to resolve any evidentiary problems or any other disputes between counsel. Ten jurors are escorted to the courtroom between 9:00 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. The specific courtroom will be assigned.
What court staff is available for Short Trial?
Only a bailiff is available for Short Trial.
Are the proceedings recorded?
When should the Pre-Trial Memo be submitted and what should it contain?
Seven days prior to the Short Trial. The Memo should contain a brief statement of the nature of claim and defense, a complete list of witnesses and a description of the substance of the testimony of each witness and finally, a list of exhibits.
Can evidence notebooks be prepared for the jury?
Yes. Eight combined notebooks should include facts, photographs, diagrams and other evidence. Four notebooks are for the jury, one for the Judge Pro Tempore, one for the witness, and one for each attorney.
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Questions about Family Court, Civil, and Probate Settlement Conferences What is a settlement conference?
A settlement conference is a pre-trial meeting between the parties, in an attempt to settle issues and avoid trial.
What types of cases are eligible for a settlement conference?
Family: Marital dissolution, pre-decree cases, other cases deemed appropriate by the judge;

Civil: Tort non-motor vehicle, tort motor vehicle, contracts, medical malpractice, and other cases as deemed appropriate by the judge.

Probate: Contested decedent estate cases, adult guardianship, and conservatorship matters.

What are the advantages of a settlement conference?
Decreased cost: By settling the case and avoiding trial, parties can save the expenses associated with a traditional trial.

Quicker solution: The traditional trial process is often time-consuming. By settling a dispute before trial, parties avoid the possibility of a long trial and can move on with their lives.

Increased satisfaction: Court clients participating in a settlement conference generally experience a higher level of satisfaction with the process than those who go through the traditional trial process.

Where do you hold settlement conferences and how long do they last?
For family court cases, the settlement conference is held in the Superior Court, Central Court Building, Phoenix AZ; Southeast Court Facility; Northeast Court Facility; Northwest Court Facility; or Alternative Dispute Resolution, Downtown Justice Center, 620 W. Jackson St., Suite 2049, Phoenix AZ. In some cases, the settlement conferences are held at locations outside the court at a location chosen by the judge pro tempore. NOTE: THE LOCATION OF THE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE WILL BE ON THE ADR NOTICE; PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE LOCATION!!!

For civil and probate cases, the settlement conference is held outside the court at a location chosen by the judge pro tempore who is facilitating the session. The judge pro tempore may opt to conduct the settlement conference at Alternative Dispute Resolution, Downtown Justice Center, 620 W. Jackson St., Suite 2049, Phoenix AZ.

All settlement conference participants should expect to attend the settlement conference for at least 2 to 3 hours.

Who presides over a settlement conference?
A judge pro tempore presides over a settlement conference. A pro tem is a neutral attorney who is court-appointed to perform specific duties for the courts based on his or her experience and qualifications.
What do I need to do to prepare for a settlement conference?
Be prepared to give a general description of the issues in the suit, including your views; be prepared to explain all previous negotiations and results; be prepared to discuss the possible consequences if your case proceeds to trial; bring any relevant financial, property, debt, and income information; bring any other relevant information for discussion; be prepared to communicate your needs fully, honestly, and respectfully with the judge pro tempore and with the other party.
Who can attend the settlement conference?
Typically, the judge pro tempore, petitioner/plaintiff, respondent/defendant, and counsel (if represented) are the only people included in the settlement conference; however, there are exceptions under certain circumstances.

Once referred to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), how long before we get scheduled for a settlement conference?

Civil and Probate: Depending on the deadline to conduct the settlement conference (cases are tickled 90 days prior to the deadline then a judge pro tempore is appointed to conduct the settlement conference).
Family:Majority of the cases are referred to ADR during a hearing, while parties and counsel are present, by calling the ADR settlement conference hotline OR a few by minute entry.

What happens if I don't show up at the settlement conference?

FC Settlement Conference: Except for extraordinary circumstances, failure to appear at the time scheduled for this settlement conference as ordered by the court will result in your being required to pay $100 no show fee by the assigned judge in your case. If you are represented and unable to attend your settlement conference, please contact your counsel so they can file the appropriate motion to continue the settlement conference. If you are not represented, please file the appropriate motion to postpone/continue your settlement conference to avoid paying the no show fee.

CV and PB Settlement Conferences: Failure to appear will be reported to the judge assigned to the case.

What happens if we reach an agreement in a settlement conference?
If you reach a full or partial agreement in a settlement conference, ADR will alert the judge that you participated in a settlement conference and a full or partial agreement was reached. The trial date may be vacated for full agreements.

What happens if we don't reach an agreement in a settlement conference?
If you do not reach an agreement, ADR will alert the judge that you participated in a settlement conference but did not reach an agreement.

Can we reach agreements prior to a settlement conference?
Yes. You need to notify the referring judge upon reaching agreements.

Is the settlement conference recorded?
Only if the parties reach a full or partial settlement, then the settlement agreement is digitally recorded or recorded on the FTR (For the Record) (when a settlement conference is held in a courtroom) (for FC cases only) or a written settlement agreement may be prepared by the settlement judge for parties' signatures (for FC/CV/PB cases).
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