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Judicial Communication


Communication Between Judges

Question:

To what extent can judges communicate with other judges regarding case management and case coordination?

Answer:

A judge may consult with other judges to better carry out his or her adjudicative responsibilities.  A judge may also consult with court personnel whose function is to aid the judge in carrying out his or her adjudicative responsibilities. Canon 3 B(7)(c), Code of Judicial Conduct.  Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.003(a)(2) allows judges to confer for the purpose of case management and case coordination.

Background & Analysis

 

Ex Parte Considerations

Question:

When judges communicate with other judges regarding case management and case coordination, does this constitute ex parte communication?

Answer:

While they are ex parte communications in the sense that the parties to the case are not present, they are not prohibited ex parte communications as they do not deal with substantive or evidentiary matters.  Prohibited ex parte communications are those between the court and a party in the litigation where the adverse party has not been given notice and an opportunity to respond. 

Background & Analysis

 

Giving Notice of Judicial Communications

Question:

Are the judges required to give notice to parties/attorneys prior to conferring with another judge?

Answer:

No, prior notice of communications between judges is not necessary if the communication is pertaining to case management or coordination.  If the communication is for a substantive or evidentiary purpose, then it is necessary to give notice and an opportunity to respond. 

Background & Analysis

 

Judicial Communications Across Circuit, County, or State Lines

Question:

What if the judges are in different circuits, counties or states?

Answer:

There are no special requirements for judges from different circuits to communicate about coordinating pending cases, however, Under the UCCJEA, when courts in different states want to confer regarding a substantive matter, the parties must be informed and allowed to participate. Communication between courts regarding scheduling and other administrative matters does not require notice to the parties, or making a record of the communication.

Background & Analysis

 

Deciding Which Judge Will Hear a Case

Question:

Do the family judges have to consider input from the parties before deciding which judge will hear the case?

Answer:

No.  Family judges should not consider input from the parties as to which judge should be assigned to a case.  The parties are required to inform the court of any related cases, and the judge may properly take this into consideration in assigning the case. 

Background & Analysis

 

Email Correspondence

Question:

Are there any special requirements for email correcpondence?

Answer:

There are no special requirements for email correspondence that relate to administrative matters.

Background & Analysis