PROCEDURE POINT - PEACEABLE RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES:
Have you ever wondered why some Judges inquire about settlement between the parties before starting your trial? Have you ever considered that maybe this “judicial arm twisting” may actually have a basis in law? Well, some jurists consider it is their obligation to explore with counsel the opportunity to peaceably resolve cases without going to trial. Here are two provisions which address this point.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedy Code: TCPRC Sec. 154 et seq – specifically provides:
Sec. 154.002. POLICY. It is the policy of this state to encourage the peaceable resolution of disputes, … , and the early settlement of pending litigation through voluntary settlement procedures.
Sec. 154.003. RESPONSIBILITY OF COURTS AND COURT ADMINISTRATORS. It is the responsibility of all trial and appellate courts and their court administrators to carry out the policy under Section 154.002.
Sec. 154.021. REFERRAL OF PENDING DISPUTES FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE. (a) A court may, on its own motion or the motion of a party, refer a pending dispute for resolution by an alternative dispute resolution procedure ….
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure: TRCP 166 (o) & (p) – states that:
In an appropriate action, to assist in the disposition of the case without undue expense or burden to the parties, the court may in its discretion direct the attorneys for the parties and the parties or their duly authorized agents to appear before it for a conference to consider:
(o) The settlement of the case, and to aid such consideration, the court may encourage settlement;
(p) Such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.
So, at least these two provisions give Judges a basis for exploring settlement between the parties and encourage peaceable resolution of cases without court intervention.