(a) Open proceedings.
All proceedings before a referee that would be open to the public if held before a judge must be open to the public, regardless of whether they are held in a court facility or in another location.
(b) Notice regarding proceedings before referee.
(1) In each case in which he or she is appointed, a referee must file a statement that provides the name, telephone number, e-mail address, and mailing address of a person who may be contacted to obtain information about the date, time, location, and general nature of all hearings scheduled in matters pending before the referee that would be open to the public if held before a judge. This statement must be filed at the same time as the referee's certification under rule 3.904(a) or 3.924(a). If there is any change in this contact information, the referee must promptly file a revised statement with the court.
(2) In addition to providing the information required under (1), the statement filed by a referee may also provide the address of a publicly accessible website at which the referee will maintain a current calendar setting forth the date, time, location, and general nature of any hearings scheduled in the matter that would be open to the public if held before a judge.
(3) The clerk must post the information from the statement filed by the referee in the court facility.
(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2016.)
(c) Appropriate hearing site.
(1) The presiding judge or his or her designee, on application of any person or on the judge's own motion, may order that a case before a referee must be heard at a site easily accessible to the public and appropriate for seating those who have made known their plan to attend hearings. The application must state facts showing good cause for granting the application, must be served on all parties and the referee, and filed with the court. The proceedings are not stayed while the application is pending unless the presiding judge or his or her designee orders that they be stayed. The issuance of an order for an accessible and appropriate hearing site is not grounds for withdrawal of a stipulation for the appointment of a referee.
(2) If a court staff mediator or evaluator is required to attend a hearing before a referee, unless otherwise ordered by the presiding judge or his or her designee, that hearing must take place at a location requiring no more than 15 minutes' travel time from the mediator's or evaluator's work site.
Rule 3.931 amended effective January 1, 2016; adopted effective January 1, 2010.