This paper explores the changes that have taken place in the attitude of judges towards their role and tasks as well as actual judicial practices. The result of this exploration is a reflection upon the challenges and opportunities for a new, more responsive judge. The main characteristic of this new judge is that he or she looks beyond the purely legal coordinates of the dispute, in order to discuss which method of dispute resolution (a settlement, a referral to mediation or a court decision) is most likely to result in a viable and sustainable solution. These changes in attitude are part of broader developments that have taken place in actual judicial practices. The context in which these changes have occurred helps us to gain a better understanding of the changes, the barriers to change and the opportunities to overcome these challenges. The leading assumption in this research is that during the past ten years there has been an extensive change in the way judges think about their role in dispute resolution and at the same time many judges experience difficulties in applying their new-found understanding to their work in the courts. Our data have been gathered through court observations, interviews and expert meetings. In addition, our analyses are based on relevant literature in the field of judicial dispute resolution (JDR) as well as insights from our own previous research projects. We primarily focus on civil and administrative disputes in the Netherlands. Occasionally, we also point to trends and challenges elsewhere.