Appointing Neutrals Handbook

The ACAN Benchbook has for years collected and organized invaluable information for judges and lawyers regarding the best use of court-appointed neutrals. In 2022, ACAN changed its name from what had been the "Academy of Court-Appointed Masters" because "Court-Appointed Nuetral" better served and better described this incredibly diverse profession and ACAN is also working to try to change the name used in rules. However, neutrals appointed in accordance with Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and in many states are still referred to as "masters." The latest edition of the Benchbook dates from January 2020 and uses these historic terms. We intend to update the termination when the Benchbook is next revised.

Our civil justice system needs the services that neutrals can provide the courts, parties, and the public. This benchbook explains how court-appointed neutrals can be used to fulfill our mission to provide a just, speedy, and inexpensive determination for all disputes. We encourage you to tell the judges in your area about its availability and usefulness.

The ACAN Benchbook is available free of charge. You can download your own copy, 3-hole punch it, and place it in a binder or view and download sections as described below.

ACAN Benchbook - January 2020 Edition

Section 1 - Types of Appointments. Summary of the various roles judicial adjuncts can serve.

Section 2 - Appointment Orders and Samples. Explains the rules that govern appointment orders and provides a detailed checklist of items to include in an appointment order.

Section 3 - Ethical Issues and Practical Concerns. Explains the sources of authority for ethics rules that govern judicial adjuncts, gives an overview of the rules, and provides a checklist for judges to review with their adjuncts early in the appointment.

Section 4 - An Article on ABA Guidelines

Section 5 - Federal and State Master Rules and Authorities

Section 6 - Articles, Books, Websites about Special Masters