In 1981 the Colorado Legislature approved a measure allowing parties to litigation to hire a former judge to serve on their case instead of the judge assigned by the district. C.R.S. §13-3-111 and Rule 122, CRCP. After the appointment, all of the costs of the case, including the “appointed judge’s fees and costs,” must be paid by the parties “at no cost to the state.” The appointed judge, or the parties, may later return the case to the original judge and the appointment terminates.
Cases with appointed judges are not procedurally different than routine court cases in Colorado; they are neither more nor less private. Pleadings are filed in the normal course and records are maintained by the court clerk as part of the routine court files; the Rules of Civil or Probate Procedure apply as appropriate. Decisions of the appointed judge are appealable. The use of an appointed judge makes the case unique because each case will constitute a single or small caseload for the appointed judge and consequently will receive heightened attention and speedier resolution.
Jean Stewart accepts appointments in all aspects of estates, trusts and probate, personal and corporate fiduciary litigation, including construction and interpretation of instruments, breach of trust, removal and surcharge of fiduciaries; fee and contractual disputes; real estate matters and complex business transactions.
All parties in the case must agree on the selection of Judge Stewart. The parties may request that their case be heard by a jury and the case may even be heard in the same courthouse where originally filed, if space and time are available, although cases can also be heard in rented space or in conference rooms made available at no cost by one of the parties’ attorneys.