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Superior Court Rules

Superior Court Rules Superior Court Rule 49: Masters

Courts: Superior Court
Effective Date: 07/01/1985
Updates: Amended effective May 8, 1976 Amended May 6, 1978, effective July 1, 1978
Amended June 26, 1980, effective September 1, 1980 Amended effective Jan 1, 1983 Amended effective July 1, 1985

(See Mass.R.Civ. P. 53)

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1. Order of reference

 A master shall be appointed by an order of reference which, after the usual heading, shall be in substantially the following form, unless the court otherwise orders, and shall specifically refer the master to Section 4 of this Rule regarding forfeiture of compensation for failure to file his/her report seasonably.

2. Compensation

(a) Compensation of masters, for services performed after July 1, 1985, shall be allowed at the rate of fifty dollars ($50.00) an hour of attendance in a hearing room at the direction of the court, and of actual hearing and preparation of report. In the determination of the court a master may be allowed compensation not exceeding two hours at the rate specified above when an action is disposed of without the necessity of: attendance at court; or an actual hearing; or preparation of a report. Every master's bill shall be itemized as to dates, hours, and services and shall state the name of the justice who ordered the reference.

(b) If a master's report is not filed within the time provided by Mass.R.Civ.P. 53(g)(2) or any enlargement thereof, unless the court shall otherwise order, the appointment of the master shall be vacated automatically and the master shall be held to have forfeited his/her compensation.

3. Engagement

An engagement in actual hearing before a master shall have the same standing as an engagement in actual trial before the court, but no protective order for counsel or the master shall issue save by order of the Chief Justice of the Superior Court.

4. Filing of master's report; enlargement of time; forfeiting compensation

(a) Pursuant to Mass.R.Civ.P. 53(g)(2) , the court may enlarge the time for filing the master's report, but only if the master files a written statement of good and substantial reasons for such enlargement. The justice authorizing an enlargement shall forthwith file with the clerk a statement of his/her reasons for so doing.

(b) If a master's report is not filed within the time specified by Mass.R.Civ.P. 53(g)(2) or any enlargement thereof, the master's appointment shall, unless the court otherwise orders, lapse automatically, and the master shall be held to have forfeited his/her compensation.

5. Supervision of master

The clerk shall keep a docket upon which shall be entered every case referred to a master. The court may call such docket or any part thereof at any time.

In cases referred to a master in which a statement by the referring or another justice is required by this Rule or Mass.R.Civ. P. 53, the clerk shall enter upon such docket the following:

(a) the statement by the referring justice as to the special reasons why the case was referred to a master not upon the Standing List;

(b) the statement by the objecting party containing the grounds for objecting to the person appointed as master; and

(c) the statement by the justice granting an enlargement of time for the filing of the report of a master containing the reasons why the enlargement has been granted.

In each case referred to a master in which a justice or objecting party has filed a statement of reasons or objections in accordance with the provisions of this Rule or Mass.R.Civ. P. 53, the clerk shall report in summary written form to the Chief Justice, quarterly, the name of the case, the nature of the case, the name of the master appointed, and the statements of the referring or other justice or party which are of record.

The clerk shall place upon the list for hearing upon motions and other interlocutory matters, at the session for or including civil business without jury within the county to be held on or next after the first Monday of March and the first Monday of September in every year, every case in which the appointment of a master was made more than four months before such first Monday and his/her report has not been filed. The list shall state the name of such master, the date of his/her appointment, and the reason for placing the case upon said list. The clerk shall mail such list to the parties and such officer. Such cases shall be called at such session.

At any call of such docket or of such cases or at any other time, the court may make any order deemed proper to promote justice and prevent delay, including an order that the case proceed without regard to engagements of counsel, and an order removing such master.

6. Special masters

The Chief Justice of the Superior Court or a justice of the court with the approval of the Chief Justice may appoint a special master to deal with administrative or other special matters. His/her compensation shall be paid at the rate provided in section 2 of this Rule.

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Updates: Amended effective May 8, 1976 Amended May 6, 1978, effective July 1, 1978
Amended June 26, 1980, effective September 1, 1980 Amended effective Jan 1, 1983 Amended effective July 1, 1985

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