Opinion No. 79 (1985)

QUESTION: May a judge appoint an attorney as a master, pursuant to Art. 1918B, V.A.C.S., or Rule 171, Tex. R. Civ. P., where that attorney appears in the judge's court on a regular basis in other unrelated matters?

ANSWER: The Committee is of the opinion that this is a question of law as distinguished from a question of ethics. Whether an attorney is qualified to be appointed a master is a matter of law. The only foreseeable ethical consideration would be if a judge knowingly appointed a master who was not qualified or made an appointment in disregard of Canon 3B(4).

Your Committee respectfully declines to assume that a judge would knowingly not follow the law by appointing a master who is not qualified. Your Committee also points out that its function is limited to issuing opinions on ethical matters, not matters of law. Therefore, your Committee respectfully declines to give an opinion on the legal question you have posed.