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Reference to Master at Trial

Reference to a master may be made in admiralty cases wherein action is tried by a jury.  In such cases, reference should be made only when the issues are complicated.  In a trial without jury, reference should be made only upon a showing of special conditions unless the case involved matters of account or a difficult computation of damages.  In Bartlett-Collins Co. v. Surinam Navigation Co., 381 F.2d 546 (10th Cir. Okla. 1967), the court held that reference to a Special Master shall be the exception and not the rule. Litigants are entitled to a trial by the court, in every suit, save where exceptional circumstances are shown.  When there are complicated issues of fact, reference to a master is a compelling reason for a trial before an experienced judge.

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