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RULE 53. MASTERS

July 25, 2011

RULE 53.01: APPOINTMENT AND COMPENSATION.

The court in which any action is pending may appoint a Special Master therein. The compensation to be allowed to a master shall be fixed by the court, and shall be charged upon such of the parties or paid out of any fund or subject matter of the action, which is in the custody and control of the court as the court may direct. The master shall not retain the report as security for compensation; but when the party ordered to pay the compensation allowed by the court does not pay it after notice and within the time prescribed by the court, the master is entitled to a writ of execution against the delinquent party.

RULE 53.02: POWERS.

The order of reference to the master may specify or limit the master’s powers and may direct the master to report only upon particular issues or to do or perform particular acts or to receive and report evidence only, and may fix the time and place for beginning and closing the hearings and for the filing of the master’s report. Subject to the specifications and limitations stated in the order, the master has and shall exercise the power to regulate all proceedings in every hearing before him or her and to do all acts and take all measures necessary or proper for the efficient performance of the duties under the order. The master may require the production before him or her of evidence upon all matters embraced in the reference, including the production of all books, papers, vouchers, documents, and writings applicable thereto. The master may rule upon the admissibility of evidence unless otherwise directed by the order of reference and has the authority to put witnesses on oath and may personally examine them and call the parties to the action and examine them upon oath. When a party so requests, the master shall make a record of the evidence offered and excluded in the same manner and subject to the same limitations as provided in Tennessee Rule of Evidence 103. [As amended by order entered January 26, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.]

RULE 53.03: PROCEEDINGS.

(1) Meetings. When a reference is made, the clerk shall forthwith furnish the master with a copy of the order of reference. Upon receipt thereof unless the order of reference otherwise provides, the master shall forthwith set a time and place for the first meeting of the parties or their attorneys to be held within twenty (20) days after the date of the order of reference and shall notify in writing the parties or their attorneys. It is the duty of the master to proceed with all reasonable diligence. Either party, on notice to the parties and master, may apply to the court for an order requiring the master to speed the proceedings and to make a report. If a party fails to appear at the time and place appointed, the master may proceed ex parte or, in his or her discretion, may adjourn the proceedings to a future day, giving notice in writing to the absent party of the adjournment.

(2) Witnesses. The master or the parties may procure the attendance of witnesses before the master by the issuance and service of subpoenas as provided in Rule 45. If without adequate excuse a witness fails to appear or give evidence, the witness may be punished as for a contempt and be subjected to the consequences, penalties, and remedies provided in Rules 37 and 45.

(3) Statement of Accounts. When matters of accounting are in issue before the master, the master may prescribe the form in which the accounts shall be submitted and in a proper case may require or receive in evidence a statement by a certified public accountant who is called as a witness. Upon objection of a party to any of the items thus submitted or upon a showing that the form of the statement is insufficient, the master may require a different form of statement to be furnished, or the accounts or specific items thereof to be proved by oral examination of the accounting parties or upon written interrogatories or in such other manner as the master directs.

RULE 53.05: APPLICATION TO REFERENCES TO CLERKS AND MASTERS.

The procedures outlined in this rule shall apply to Clerks and Masters of the Chancery Courts as well as to Special Masters appointed pursuant to Rule 53.01.

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