Indiana Supreme Court
Office of Judicial Administration
State House, Room 314
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204

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Mary Willis
Chief Administrative Officer

Judicial Administration > Private Judges > Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions

Who could serve as a private judge?

A person who is not currently a judge of a circuit, superior, criminal, probate, municipal, or county court, but who has served as a judge for at least four (4) consecutive years may serve as a private judge. A private judge must be admitted to the practice of law in Indiana and must be an Indiana resident. A former judge who wishes to serve as a private judge must register with the Executive Director of the Indiana Office of Court Services. The Executive Director must compile and periodically update a list of registered private judges which shall be made available to the public. For the most current list of registered private judges, please go to “Roster of Registered Private Judges.”

When could a private judge act?

A private judge may act as a judge in a case only if:

  • All parties to the action have filed a written petition with the Executive Director of the Indiana Office of Court Services consenting to the use of a private judge for the case, and naming the individual whom they wish to have as a private judge;
  • The case is one over which the court in which the former judge served would have had subject matter and monetary jurisdiction;
  • The case is founded exclusively on contract, tort, or a combination of contract and tort;
  • The case is one in which a utility is not a party.

How do I hire a private judge?

Parties to an action that qualifies for trial before a private judge (see above) who wish to have it heard by a private judge must submit to the Executive Director a written petition requesting a private judge and naming the judge. The Executive Director shall verify that the former judge is qualified as required by the above statutory provisions and shall forward the petition to the selected private judge.

The parties should then obtain the written consent of the private judge. Upon obtaining the consent, the parties should then file the written consent and the petition for private judge in the court where the case is filed. The parties may present the petition and consent either contemporaneously with the filing of the case in the trial court or after the case has been filed. The regular judge of the court in which the case is filed shall appoint the private judge to hear the case, upon the parties satisfying the above requirements.

How can a private judge be compensated?

A private judge may receive compensation for hearing a case in an amount and subject to the terms and conditions agreed to by the judge and the parties to the case. A contract for the services of a private judge must provide for the payment of the judge’s compensation by the parties. In addition the contract must include terms for compensation of all personnel and the costs of facilities and materials as determined by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.