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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 186320 Find in a Library
Title: Special Masters' Incidence and Activity Report to the Judicial Conference's Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and Its Subcommittee on Special Masters
Author(s): Thomas E. Willging; Laural L. Hooper; Marie Leary; Dean Miletich; Robert Timothy Reagan; John Shapard
Corporate Author: Federal Judicial Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 133
Sponsoring Agency: Federal Judicial Ctr
Washington, DC 20002
Sale Source: Federal Judicial Ctr
Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building
One Columbus Circle, NE
Washington, DC 20002
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report examines how pretrial and posttrial special master activity can take place under a rule designed to limit special master appointments to trial-related fact-finding in exceptional cases.
Abstract: The Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules’ Subcommittee on Special Masters commissioned the study to learn how special master activity had expanded beyond its traditional boundaries. Specific issues were how often and under what authority judges appointed special masters to serve at the pretrial and posttrial stages of litigation, whether any special problems arose in using special masters, how courts’ use of special masters compared with their use of magistrate judges, and whether rule changes were needed. The analysis used information from docket entries and documents in a random national sample of 136 closed cases in which the appointment of a special master was considered. Information also came from follow-up interviews of judges, attorneys, and special masters in 33 of those cases. Results revealed that the incidence of special master consideration, appointment, and activity was rare and occurred primarily in high-stakes cases that were especially complex. Party initiative, consent, or acquiescence provided the foundation for appointments; rules did not appear to be a driving or limiting factor. Nevertheless, some participants offered suggestions for clarifying the rules regarding some problem areas, especially relating to ex parte communications issues and to methods of selecting masters. The analysis concluded that judges, attorneys, and special masters all indicated that problems exist that the rulemaking process might well address. Tables, figure, footnotes, and appended methodological information and instruments
Main Term(s): Master (court-appointed)
Index Term(s): Civil proceedings; Court procedures; Judicial discretion
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