California's superior court system now offers expedited jury trials, which are shorter and have a smaller jury than a regular jury trial. Modeled after a successful project in South Carolina, this alternative to costly and long jury trials is now available to anyone involved in a civil case in California's superior courts, as long as all parties agree. The cornerstone of the system limits the trial to one day, with each side limited to three hours to present their case. Cases are presided over by judges and heard by juries, which, at eight members, are smaller than the normal 12. Agreeing to participate in an expedited trial also means waiving one's right to appeal, except in limited circumstances.
The Judicial Council has been directed to begin drafting forms for use in expedited trials. Their informational sheet, "Expedited Jury Trial Information Sheet," is a clear explanation of additional details. You can read the Judicial Council's analysis of the law for background information and the comments of those who considered the legislation.
The Expedited Jury Trials Act did not change the forms or advice in Nolo's book Win Your Lawsuit: Sue in California Without A Lawyer. If you are representing yourself as a plaintiff or defendant, and all parties agree to an expedited jury trial, you simply now have this alternative. Be advised that some procedural options and procedures available in regular jury trials will not be available in an expedited trial, such as the ability of the judge to override the jury's verdict, or the ability to file various motions. The parties involved can make their own decisions about what procedures to modify or forego, as long as all agree.
If you are representing yourself and are considering an expedited trial, be sure you understand what you are giving up, in exchange for a faster trial. You may want to consult with an attorney on just the issue of whether it makes good sense for you to partake in an expedited trial.