State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 93-27
May a full-time court of limited jurisdiction judicial officer perform, on a no-fee basis, settlement conferences, arbitrations, or mediation in marriage dissolution and/or other family law cases, during the evening hours?
May a full-time court of limited jurisdiction judicial officer be appointed as a pro tempore superior court commissioner to perform the settlement conferences, during the evening hours only?
CJC Canon 5(E) provides that judicial officers should not act as arbitrators or mediators. Therefore, a court of limited jurisdiction judicial officer may not perform arbitrations or mediation. The fact that these services would be rendered on a no-fee basis or during the evening hours does not affect this prohibition.
A court of limited jurisdiction judicial officer may conduct a settlement conference for any type of pending case on a no-fee basis during the evening hours if the judicial officer is appointed a pro tempore superior court commissioner.
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