There may come a point in the proceedings in which the parties need or the court orders some kind of supervisory or fact finding assistance. Many times the courts appoint a special master, a neutral party charged with specific duties which are directed at advancing the litigation.  A special master can be appointed for one or more tasks or for the duration of the case. Special masters are used frequently in discovery disputes, commercial disputes, and situations where the court or parties feel a third party’s limited oversight is necessary.   Special masters can be mediators, lawyers, accountants, forensic specialist or any other professional appropriate for the task. The cost of the special master is usually split by the parties, with the exception of discovery disputes, where the courts tend to have one party pay the cost until a final decision on who will pay is made.