“Special masters” are appointed by courts or chosen by the parties for their expertise to help them in complex or specialized cases. It is often said that they are acting in a “quasi judicial” role. The term is very broad and includes discovery referees. In workers’ compensation, they are provided for in 8 California Code of Regulation §10593(f).
Having lectured and written on depositions, I have been asked to act as a special master in discovery matters. I have many other areas of expertise with over 35 years as an attorney in litigation, civil trial work, and as a certified specialist in Workers’ Compensation.
For an excellent discussion of the creative and different uses of special masters as an alternative to litigation, consider David Keller’s article: Court-Appointed Special Masters: Dispute-Resolvers?