Proceeding Steps

Procedures for Civil & Domestic Trials

Read about the typical procedures for civil and domestic trials. For more information, contact the Superior Court via email.

By 9 a.m. Day of Trial

All attorneys and/or self-represented litigants check in with the trial department to which their case is assigned. If the case is sent to Administration to by the trial department, attorneys and/or self-represented litigants check in with the calendar coordinator in Room 334 of the County - City Building (CCB). The parties will remain available for assignment to an open department. If there has been no appearance to sign in by 10 a.m., the calendar coordinator will assume that the trial is not going forward, will strike the trial from the waiting list and the case will be returned to the department for action which may include dismissal.

10:30 a.m. Day of Trial

If the case is unable to be reassigned, then all attorneys and/or self-represented litigants will again check in with the calendar coordinator. Those attorneys who can return to the CCB within 30 minutes will be free to leave the building. Self-represented litigants may be asked to remain. The calendar coordinator must be provided with a contact phone for all persons excused from waiting in the CCB.

The calendar coordinator will have the option of requiring the parties to continue to wait in the CCB, if there is a reasonable expectation that a courtroom will become available to hear the case.

During the Trial Day

As courtrooms become available, the calendar coordinator will assign cases to departments and notify the parties of the assignment. She will also notify the receiving department which case they will be receiving and the estimated arrival time of the participants. Once the case is assigned to a department the judicial assistant will assume all responsibility regarding the case and the participants.


Parties involved in standard or expedited civil and domestic trials unable to be assigned a courtroom, will be required to repeat the process prescribed above (commonly referred to as trailing) as ordered by the assigned trial department.

Each day the litigants will check in with the calendar coordinator. This may be done by phone, except for those who cannot appear within 30 minutes of notification. Counsel shall be on-call (8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.) for all trailing days.

If the Trial Does Not Begin

If after the last day of trailing, the trial has not begun, the case will return to the assigned department for setting of a priority trial date. At any time during this process, counsel / parties may elect to stipulate to a pro tempore judge by contacting the pro tem judge coordinator. Attorneys may request an exemption from trailing from the assigned department or the assigned department may determine, sua sponte, the trial will be exempt from trailing.

At 2 p.m. Day of Trial for Non-Trailing Cases

Attorneys and self-represented parties shall call (253) 798-6669 or check in to find out if a courtroom has become available. If no courtrooms are available, then the parties will be excused and will qualify for a priority setting in their originating department. At any time during the trial day, counsel / parties may elect to stipulate to a pro tempore judge should funding for the program be available.