United States District Court - Northern District Court of California

Claudia Wilken, Chief Judge

Richard W. Wieking, Clerk of Court

Selecting a Neutral

Can the parties have input into the selection of the neutral assigned to their case?

Yes, but under no circumstances should the parties simply submit a proposed order calling for the appointment of a specific neutral as the court cannot guarantee that any individual neutral is available at any given time.

Parties wishing to have input into the selection of the neutral for their case must first contact the ADR Unit. For cases assigned to the court's Mediation, Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE), or Non-Binding Arbitration programs, after consultation, the parties may submit to the ADR Unit a list of no fewer than five mutually agreed-upon names for consideration. The ADR Unit will attempt to appoint someone from that list, but ultimately must also balance the parties' wishes with neutral availability and the responsibility not to add unnecessary delay to the process.

For cases in which a Settlement Conference With a Magistrate Judge is requested, the parties may advise the assigned judge of their preference.

If the parties feel strongly that a specific person on one of the court's neutral panels is especially well-suited to handle their case, the parties should hire that person privately and request that their private process substitute for referral to any of the court's ADR processes. See ADR L.R. 3-2.