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New Rules Mean Fewer Judges

More than a quarter of California€™s judges who sit by assignment on public trials are bowing out of the voluntary program.

They€™re responding to new rules that forbid those jurists from also working as private arbitrators and mediators. Court officials said today that 268 retired judges have agreed to remain in the program, which alleviates crowding in courts. That€™s down from 367 who presided over civil and criminal cases last year.

The public program pays $500 per day. The private arbitration and mediation jobs pay as much as $500 per hour.

Private judging has become big business. Arbitrators and mediators provide quicker dispute resolution than the court system, and contracts often require out-of-court arbitration.