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Judge Pro Tempore Program
The Chesapeake Circuit Court Judge Pro Tempore Program is an opportunity, by agreement of the parties, to have domestic relations cases heard timely. The program provides an efficient alternative to litigants while helping to alleviate the case backlog resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To have a matter heard by a Judge Pro Tempore, the parties and their attorneys of record must agree and must enter into a written stipulation appointing a Judge Pro Tempore, which must be approved by a presiding judge of this Court in his or her discretion. Pursuant to Virginia Code § 17.1-109, the person appointed as Judge Pro Tempore must be a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia and must be licensed to practice law in Virginia. Pursuant to Virginia Code § 17.1-110, the person appointed Judge Pro Tempore must “take and subscribe an oath faithfully to try and determine the issues joined between the parties.” The stipulation and oath must be recorded by the Clerk of Court.
The Court has established a pre-approved list of persons authorized to sit in this Court as Judges Pro Tempore, provided below. A written stipulation, appointment order, and oath must be entered and filed in all cases where a Judge Pro Tempore is appointed.
The person appointed as Judge Pro Tempore is vested with the same power and authority and shall be charged with the same duties as to the cause in and as to which he/she is appointed as though he/she were the regularly elected and qualified judge of the Court. The parties may, however, by the terms of their stipulation, limit the power of the Judge Pro Tempore to the trial and determination of any specified issue or issues, either of law or fact and in such cases, the oath will correspond to the terms of the stipulation. All hearings with a Judge Pro Tempore are conducted in a courtroom in the courthouse.
Pursuant to Virginia Code § 17.1-111, the parties are responsible for payment of the Judge Pro Tempore (Judges Pro Tempore are not paid from the state treasury). The parties may agree upon and express in their written stipulation any mode or amount of compensation, together with any further agreement as to the taxing of the same as costs. The fee for services is not set by the Court; it is set by the Judge Pro Tempore as part of the stipulation. The current fee is $250.00 per hour for the Judge Pro Tempore, and $95.00 per hour for their staff (fee quote is noted for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect an official policy or approval of the Court).
Scheduling Judge Pro Tempore Matters:
If a Judge Pro Tempore has been appointed to hear a matter, counsel schedule the trial and any hearings in the matter directly with the Judge Pro Tempore and not through the Court. A Judge Pro Tempore Hearing Request Form must be used.
Pre-Approved Persons Available to Sit as Judge Pro Tempore:
- Hon. Timothy S. Wright (Ret.)
- Allison W. Anders, Esq.
- Corrynn J. Peters, Esq.
- Mark S. Smith, Esq.
- Kristi A. Wooten, Esq.
Forms and Links: