A Court Appointed Special Master serves a crucial role in the legal system, assisting the judge and parties involved in a case, particularly in complex or contentious matters. Special masters are appointed by the judge either at their own initiative or upon the parties' request. Their appointment aims to streamline the resolution of significant discovery disputes and provide focused attention to a case that a busy court may not otherwise be able to afford.
The appointment of a Special Master is typically initiated through an Order of Appointment of Special Master issued by the judge in accordance with the Federal or Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure. The court's order outlines the specific duties and responsibilities of the Special Master and directs their actions in addressing the discovery disputes at hand. While the Special Master is tasked with resolving these issues, they also play a broader role in assisting the court and the parties throughout the process.
One of the primary advantages of appointing a Court Appointed Special Master is the availability of focused time and attention dedicated to hearing and resolving the parties' disputes. Courts often face heavy caseloads, making allocating extensive time and resources to a single case challenging. By appointing a Special Master, the parties can ensure that the case receives the necessary attention and expedited resolution. The Special Master can devote concentrated efforts to understanding the complexities of the dispute, reviewing evidence, and facilitating efficient resolution.
Additionally, a Court Appointed Special Master can bring specialized experience and expertise to the case that the judge may not personally possess. In complex matters that involve technical, scientific, or industry-specific knowledge, the Special Master's background and qualifications can prove invaluable. Their expertise allows them to comprehensively analyze the issues at hand, apply their knowledge, and propose solutions that consider the intricacies of the subject matter. This expertise contributes to the overall fairness and accuracy of the resolution.
It is important to note that the parties can challenge the resolution proposed by the Special Master. Established procedures are in place to address any concerns or objections to their recommendations. Absent challenge, in most cases, the written resolution provided by the Special Master becomes the basis for the court's final order on the disputed issues. The court relies on the expertise and analysis of the Special Master when making their final decisions, recognizing the value of their input in achieving a just outcome.
A Court Appointed Special Master is a valuable legal resource, particularly in complex discovery disputes. Their appointment allows for focused attention, expedited resolution, and specialized expertise that may not be readily available within the court's resources. By providing an objective assessment and assisting the parties in reaching a resolution, Special Masters contribute to efficient case management and enhance the overall fairness of the process.