1) adj. short for the Latin pro tempore, temporarily or for the time being. In law, judge pro tem normally refers to a judge who is sitting temporarily for another judge or to an attorney who has been appointed to serve as a judge as a substitute for a regular judge. When an appeals justice is not available or there is a vacancy, a lower court judge is appointed Justice Pro Tem until a new Justice is appointed. Small claims cases are often heard by an attorney serving as Judge Pro Tem. 2) n. short for a temporary judge as "Sam Collins is Pro Tem today."