WHAT ARE MOCK PROCEEDINGS & WHY MIGHT THEY BE USED?
Mock proceedings comprise either of two processes – a practice hearing or a test hearing.
As a practice hearing, whether for a significant procedural motion, an evidentiary arbitration hearing, an administrative agency hearing, or a court trial (bench or jury), mock proceedings overseen by a neutral arbitrator or retired judge provide opportunities for the parties, attorneys, and sometimes important witnesses, to present evidence and argument, and to receive non-binding, but realistic, rulings, full or partial awards, and critiques so that they can gain significant insight as to the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and make adjustments or entertain settlement negotiations.
As a test hearing, both sides may present all or part of their cases in a very realistic setting, under the oversight of a strictly realistic neutral arbitrator (or three-member arbitral panel) or retired judge who will give his or her procedural rulings, control witnesses, receive documentary and other evidence, then make a mock final arbitral award or court judgment (or take the jury’s verdict if a mock jury was empaneled). Often, if the parties have elected this type of full mock proceeding, using a truly independent neutral (or mock jury, if applicable), the outcome, although not binding on the parties, will result in a well-informed settlement.
Whether for practice or outcome testing, in cases of great importance and significant amounts of money at issue, parties may undertake multiple mock proceedings. The number, manner, and issues subjected to mock proceedings are solely up to the interested party or parties. While potentially expensive, mock proceedings can provide the parties with procedural and potential outcome information they could not otherwise obtain before the real proceedings.
If Judge Smith may be of assistance to you for consulting on, or presiding over, mock proceedings, please call us at +1 (253) 649-5909.