Referee in the United States

A quasi-judicial officer who can conduct a hearing on a pending matter and report findings to the court. Referees are typically attorneys and are appointed by judges to handle particular matters. Referees have the authority to take testimony and are often used to gather information in complex cases. The report of a referee’s findings becomes the basis of a court judgment. A similar function is performed by a person known as a master or special master. The term referee is occasionally used in reference to judicial officers who handle traffic or ordinance violations. Most jurisdictions use magistrates to perform this function instead of referees.

See Also

Judge (Judicial Personnel issue) Magistrate (Judicial Personnel issue).

Analysis and Relevance

The term referee derives from the word “refer.” Matters handled by referees are specifically “referred” by a court. Referees relieve the courts from matters of volume and detail. Use of referees also creates a two-stage disposition process where preliminary consideration is given to particular issues that will also be considered by courts. Use of a referee allows courts to focus themselves on the more substantial aspects or “bigger picture” issues of a case.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Referee from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Referee Definition

The person to whom a reference (q. V.) is made.

Referee in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

Link Description
Referee Referee in the World Legal Encyclopedia.
Referee Referee in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Referee Referee in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Referee Referee in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Referee Referee in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

Back to Top

For starting research in the law of a foreign country:

Browse the American Encyclopedia of Law for Referee

Scan Referee in the appropriate area of law:

Link Description
Referee Referee in the Family Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the IP Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Commercial Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Criminal Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Antritrust Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Bankruptcy Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Constitutional Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Tax Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the and Finance and Banking Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Employment and Labor Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Personal Injury and Tort Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Referee Referee in the Environmental Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.

Back to Top

Explore other Reference Works

Resource Description
Referee in the Dictionaries Referee in our legal dictionaries The URI of Referee (more about URIs)
Referee related entries Find related entries of Referee

Back to Top

Legal Issue for Attorneys

The person to whom a reference (q. V.) is made.

More Resources

Access Points to the American Encyclopedia of Law

Access to the Encyclopedia is provided by alphabetical arrangement of entries, table of cases, table of laws, briefs and tables of contents.

Legal Thesaurus Dictionary

Because some legal concepts are too complicated to compress to a single word or term, the legal thesaurus dictionary allows the reader to search for groups of terms, including synonyms, antonyms, expanded legal meanings and other terms the reader is likely to use. The resource includes lists, synonym rings , subject categories, taxonomies and a number of schemes.

Legal Indexes

The Index is a collection of entries to allow users to locate information in the Lawi Projects. After write down relevant words and phrases that you need, begin looking up the words and phrases using the index until you have located an applicable subject to review.

Indexes of All Encyclopedias:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Z

Index Description
General Index Index of general information about the Encyclopedia
Classified index Headings arranged on the basis of relations among concepts represented by headings, based on the Lawi Classification Scheme
Topical Index A comprehensive and easy guide to the topics of the legal Encyclopedia
Citation Index Index of links between citing and cited entries
Subject Index Identify and describe the subjects of the Encyclopedia
Alphabetical Index A-Z Index of all the Entries
Thematic Index Correlation of terms in a meaningful hierarchical order
Permutation Index A type of index in which significant words in the titles function as subject headings
Browse Index Browse the Encyclopedia by Index
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies


This definition of Referee Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

An officer of the court who has power to hear testimony and decide certain facts. The officer then reports to the court those facts upon which the court enters judgment.

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Referee?

For a meaning of it, read Referee in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Referee.

Meaning of Referee

In plain or simple terms, Referee means: A person to whom a case is referred by the court to take testimony, hear the parties and report to the court.


See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • Further Reading (Articles)

    Referee assignements for matches 1-36, AP Worldstream; May 25, 2002

    Referees Must Apply the Laws of the Game, Daily News (Colombo, Sri Lanka); August 18, 2012

    Referee assignements for matches 41-48, AP Worldstream; June 10, 2002

    Referees at Risk; Managers Need to Realise the Effect Their Outbursts Are Having on Officials, Daily Mail (London); November 30, 1999; McDonnell, David

    REFEREES CRISIS as search begins for Dallas’s successor, Donald McVicar believes ‘nobody outwith Scottish football would want to come here’ ; Hampden role far from pretty vacant jist of the job, The Herald; November 30, 2010

    Referees Becoming the Story of World Cup, AP Online; June 26, 2006; JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer

    Referees committee defends system, The Irish Times; June 12, 2007; Sean Moran GAA Correspondent

    Referees Society AGM on Saturday, Daily News (Colombo, Sri Lanka); January 16, 2014

    Referees in no rush for video technology, The Irish Times; July 13, 2010; IAN O’riordan

    Referees reluctant to speak out freely, The Scotsman; January 11, 2001; Glenn Gibbons

    REFEREES ON SPOT AT CUP BLUNDERS MAR TENSE MATCHES.(Sports), The Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, OH); June 27, 2006

    Referees blow the whistle on gagging; Dallas feels that Scotland’s match officials should be allowed their say to explain key decisions, The Herald; August 25, 1999; Rob Robertson

    Referees set deadline for full backing from clubs, The Scotsman; November 25, 2010; ALAN PATTULLO

    Referees’ mistakes under the spotlight, AP Worldstream; May 30, 2002; NAOMI KOPPEL, Associated Press Writer

    Referees play a vital role in recruitment, Belfast Telegraph; June 13, 2003; Features Editor

    Referees and players must both play ball, The Irish Times; May 14, 2010; LIAM TOLAND;

    Asian referees in FIFA World Cup 2010., UzReport; June 10, 2010

    GAA: Referees’ Amazing Backlash, The Mirror (London, England); August 13, 1999; Keys, Colm

    Referee shortage hurting soccer, Deseret News (Salt Lake City); April 26, 2005; Dan Rasmussen Deseret Morning News

    European referees to snub SFA’s plea and support Scots colleagues, The Scotsman; November 24, 2010; Alan Pattullo

    Referee: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

    Federal Primary Materials

    The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Referee. This part provides references, in relation to Referee, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

    Federal primary materials about Referee by content types:

    Laws and Regulations

    US Constitution
    Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

    Federal Case Law and Court Materials

    U.S. Courts of Appeals
    United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

    Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

    Presidential Materials

    Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

    Executive Materials

    Federal Legislative History Materials

    Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Referee and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Referee or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

    State Administrative Materials and Resources

    State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Referee and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Referee. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Referee should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

    State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

    State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Referee when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

    Tools and Forms

    Law in Other Regions

    *This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

    Leave a Comment