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3 Disadvantages of a Private Trial for Businesses

gavel resting on money, disadvantages of private trial for businesses, voluntary trial resolution

Businesses head to court every day for a number of reasons. How they handle the dispute is dependent upon local, state, and federal laws, as well as any contractual obligations they may have. One option they have to have the dispute heard is a private trial.

Private trials have some benefits, but they also have a number of disadvantages for your business. Not familiar with the disadvantages? Read on to learn how a private trial can actually hurt your business.

1. Confidentiality Can Be a Disadvantage of Private Trial Resolution

Confidentiality is important for many businesses, but sometimes you may not want the information that comes out in court to be confidential. Ordinarily, trials are held in courtrooms that are open to the public and with documents that become public record after the conclusion of the trial. For the most part, private trials are closed to the public and the documents are sealed once the decision is rendered.

This is fine if the trial involves highly sensitive information, but if it doesn’t, or if the release of the court documents could net you some positive PR, then you may not want to opt for a private trial.

2. You’re Placing Your Fate in the Hands of One Person

Traditional trials are held in a courtroom and the decision is rendered by a jury of people who have been strategically vetted by the plaintiff and defense attorneys. In a private trial, a judge pro tempore presides over the case and renders the decision, too.

A judge pro tempore is typically a retired judge who is still an active member of the bar. The judge is considered to be neutral, but neither party has any say in which judge presides over your trial. 

What does this mean for your case?

A retired judge is a legal expert, while a jury is almost always composed of people who are not legal experts. It all comes down to whether you think you’ll have a better outcome with a retired judge or a jury. Speak with your attorney to discuss the best option for your case. 

3. The Judgment Can Be Appealed

Once the judge pro tempore renders the decision, it is entered in the court just like any jury trial decision. That means that the decision can be appealed, meaning you’ll potentially spend more time in court and spend more money on legal fees.

Another alternative dispute resolution method, binding arbitration, works similarly to private trial except the decision is binding and can only be appealed in very narrow circumstances. Arbitration also works well for individuals who wish to apply laws that are outside of a local court’s jurisdiction.

Considering a Private Trial for Your Business Dispute?

If you’re considering going the route of a private trial for your business dispute, then it’s important that you think about both the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative dispute resolution option. Depending on the situation, it may be far more advantageous to utilize a public trial or binding arbitration. If you’re on the fence, consult an experienced florida business litigation attorney to weigh in on the situation to help you determine the best moves to make.


Are you looking for an attorney to represent your business? You’re in the right place. Contact Boyer Law Firm today to learn how we can help you!

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