1. In any proceeding other than one instituted for probate of a will or where a constitutional right to trial by jury exists and is demanded, the court may appoint a referee to report to the court upon the facts or upon a specific question of fact or upon the law and the facts. The report of the referee shall be filed and contain the facts found and the conclusions of law. No exceptions need be filed to the report.
2. No referee to examine an account rendered or to report questions arising upon the settlement of the account shall be appointed where the estate does not exceed $1,000 in value or in any case where the item or items in such account to which objections have been made do not aggregate more than $200, except that in any such proceeding the court may appoint a referee to serve without compensation.
3. A referee shall have the powers granted by CPLR 4201 and shall conduct the reference in the same manner as a court trying an issue without a jury. The referee shall file his report within 30 days after the matter has been finally submitted. Unless otherwise stipulated a transcript of the testimony together with the exhibits or copies thereof shall be filed with the report.
4. Upon the motion of any party or on its own initiative the court may confirm or reject in whole or in part the report of the referee; may make new findings with or without taking additional testimony or may order a new reference. Any party to the proceeding may serve notice of the filing of the report. Unless the motion be made within 60 days after service of notice of the filing of the report, it shall be deemed confirmed. Where no issues remain to be tried the court shall file its decision in writing.
6. (a) Upon the consent of the attorneys for all parties who have appeared at the hearing, the court may designate the chief clerk, one of the other clerks, a court attorney or any assistant to take the testimony in any proceeding other than one where a right to trial by jury exists and to report to the court upon the facts or upon a specific question of fact or upon the law and the facts. The report shall be in writing and shall be filed. It shall state the facts deemed to be essential, but need not make findings of fact. No exceptions need be filed to the report. The person so designated must be an attorney at law and shall have all the powers granted by CPLR 4201 and shall conduct the reference in the same manner as a court trying an issue without a jury. A copy of the report shall be sent to the attorney for each party who appeared at the hearing together with a notice that the report shall be deemed confirmed as of course unless within ten days from the date of mailing the report any party shall file with the court, a notice of motion to modify or overrule the report. Upon motion of any party or upon its own initiative the court may confirm, modify or reject the report in whole or in part, may make new findings with or without taking additional testimony or may order a new hearing.
(b) It shall not be necessary to file a transcript of the testimony with such report but on a motion to modify or overrule the report any party may file a copy of the transcript.
(c) Upon the consent of the attorneys for all parties who have appeared at the hearing, the necessity of the preparation of the report by the person so designated may be waived and the matter decided by the court based upon the transcript of the hearing. In such event the expense of the transcript shall be a charge against the estate, or where appropriate, as otherwise directed by the court.
(d) The person so designated as referee shall not receive any compensation from the estate or from any party for his services and shall be reimbursed for his necessary expenses only as provided in 2609(3)(a).
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