RE: Special Referees and Foreclosure Sales.
By Advisory Opinion No. 15-2003, the Advisory Committee on Standards of Judicial Conduct opined that a special referee may not receive a sales commission for handling a foreclosure sale. Since issuance of the Advisory Opinion, many special referees are not disbursing funds, which means that a final report on a foreclosure sale may not be filed and the parties are not given an opportunity to appeal the report, should they so desire. I have asked the Committee to revisit that Opinion which fails to distinguish between masters-in-equity, part-time masters who at times act as special referees, and special referees. Pending resolution of this matter, special referees are authorized to keep any fees and commissions previously earned and to disburse funds as necessary to enable them to file a final sales report without reliance on Advisory Opinion No. 15-2003.
Finally, until any further order, the general practice of special referees of being compensated by a fee and a 1% commission on the sale shall continue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
|s/Jean Hoefer Toal
Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice
Columbia, South Carolina
December 11, 2003