Civil Practice Law & Rules Section 4312
Number of referees
1.A court may designate either one or three referees; provided, however, a judicial hearing officer may be designated a referee, in which case there shall be only one referee. Except by consent of the parties, no person shall be designated a referee unless he is an attorney admitted to practice in the state and in good standing. Where a referee may be designated by the parties, they may designate any number of referees.
2.Except in matrimonial actions or where the reference is to a judicial hearing officer, a person to whom all the parties object may not be designated as a referee. In matrimonial actions, only a judicial hearing officer or a special referee appointed by the chief administrator of the courts may be designated to determine an issue. In a matrimonial action the court shall not order a reference to a referee nominated by a party.
3.No person shall serve as referee who holds the position of court clerk, or clerk, secretary or stenographer to a judge; or who is the partner or clerk of an attorney for any party to the action or occupies the same office with such attorney, except as provided in paragraph five of this rule.
4.A judge shall not serve as a referee in an action brought in a court of which he is a judge except by the written consent of the parties, and, in that case, he cannot receive any compensation as referee.
5.In uncontested matrimonial actions, a court clerk, law secretary, or any other non-judicial employee of the court, who is an attorney in good standing admitted to practice in the state, may be appointed by an administrative judge to serve without fee as a referee for the purpose of hearing and reporting to the court.
Section 4312 — Number of referees; qualifications,
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/CVP/4312 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Nov. 25, 2023).