Rule 53. Masters.
(a) Appointment and compensation. Any or all of the issues in an action may be referredby the court to a master upon the written consent of the parties, or the courtmay appoint a master in an action, in accordance with the provisions ofSubdivision (b) of this rule. As used in these rules the word"master" includes a referee, an auditor, and an examiner. Thecompensation to be allowed to a master shall be fixed by the court, and shallbe charged upon such of the parties or paid out of any fund or subject matterof the action, which is in the custody and control of the court as the courtmay direct. The master shall not retain his report as security for hiscompensation; but when the party ordered to pay the compensation allowed by thecourt 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.
(b) Reference. A reference to a master shall be the exception andnot the rule. In actions to be tried by a jury, a reference shall be made onlywhen the issues are complicated; in actions to be tried without a jury, save inmatters of account, a reference shall, in the absence of the written consent ofthe parties, be made only upon a showing that some exceptional conditionrequires it.
(c) Powers. The order of reference to the master may specify orlimit his powers and may direct him to report only upon particular issues or todo or perform particular acts or to receive and report evidence only and mayfix the time and place for beginning and closing the hearings and for thefiling of the master's report. Subject to the specifications and limitationsstated in the order, the master has and shall exercise the power to regulateall proceedings in every hearing before him and to do all acts and take allmeasures necessary or proper for the efficient performance of his duties underthe order. He may require the production before him of evidence upon allmatters embraced in the reference, including the production of all books,papers, vouchers, documents, and writings applicable thereto. He may rule uponthe admissibility of evidence unless otherwise directed by the order ofreference and has the authority to put witnesses on oath and may himself examinethem and may call the parties to the action and examine them upon oath. When aparty so requests, the master shall make a record of the evidence offered andexcluded in the same manner and subject to the same limitations as provided inthe Utah Rules of Evidence for a court sitting without a jury.
(d)(1) Meetings. When a reference is made, the clerk shall forthwith furnish the masterwith a copy of the order of reference. Upon receipt thereof unless the order ofreference otherwise provides, the master shall forthwith set a time and placefor the first meeting of the parties or their attorneys to be held within 21days after the date of the order of reference and shall notify the parties ortheir attorneys. It is the duty of the master to proceed with all reasonablediligence. Either party, on notice to the parties and master, may apply to thecourt for an order requiring the master to speed the proceedings and to makehis report. If a party fails to appear at the time and place appointed, themaster may proceed ex parte or, in his discretion, adjourn the proceedings to afuture day, giving notice to the absent party of the adjournment.
(d)(2) Witnesses. The parties may procure the attendance of witnesses before the masterby the issuance and service of subpoenas as provided in Rule 45. If withoutadequate excuse a witness fails to appear or give evidence, he may be punishedas for a contempt and be subjected to the consequences, penalties, and remediesprovided in Rules 37 and 45.
(d)(3) Statement of accounts. When matters of accounting are in issue before themaster, he may prescribe the form in which the accounts shall be submitted andin any proper case may require or receive in evidence a statement by acertified public accountant who is called as a witness. Upon objection of aparty to any of the items thus submitted or upon a showing that the form ofstatement is insufficient, the master may require a different form of statementto be furnished, or the accounts or specific items thereof to be proved by oralexamination of the accounting parties or upon written interrogatories or insuch other manner as he directs.
(e)(1) Contents and filing. The master shall prepare a report upon the matterssubmitted to him by the order of reference and, if required to make findings offact and conclusions of law, he shall set them forth in the report. He shallfile the report with the clerk of the court and in an action to be triedwithout a jury, unless otherwise directed by the order of reference, shall filewith it a transcript of the proceedings and of the evidence and the originalexhibits. The clerk shall forthwith mail to all parties notice of the filing.
(e)(2) In non-jury actions. In an action to be tried without a jury the court shallaccept the master's findings of fact unless clearly erroneous. Within 14 daysafter being served with notice of the filing of the report any party may servewritten objections thereto upon the other parties. Application to the court foraction upon the report and upon objections thereto shall be by motion and uponnotice as prescribed in Rule 6(d). Thecourt after hearing may adopt the report or may modify it or may reject it inwhole or in part or may receive further evidence or may recommit it with instructions.
(e)(3) In jury actions. In an action to be tried by a jury the master shallnot be directed to report the evidence. His findings upon the issues submittedto him are admissible as evidence of the matters found and may be read to thejury, subject to the ruling of the court upon any objections in point of lawwhich may be made to the report.
(e)(4) Stipulation as to findings. The effect of a master's report is the same whetheror not the parties have consented to the reference; but, when the partiesstipulate that a master's findings of fact shall be final, only questions oflaw arising upon the report shall thereafter be considered.
(e)(5) Draft report. Before filing his report a master may submit a draft thereof tocounsel for all parties for the purpose of receiving their suggestions.
(f) Objections to appointment of master. A party may object to the appointment of any personas a master on the same grounds as a party may challenge for cause anyprospective trial juror in the trial of a civil action. Such objections must beheard and disposed of by the court in the same manner as a motion.