General: Masters are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the General Assembly for a term of six years. They may serve in a full or part-time capacity and are compensated by the county governing body. Masters-In-Equity have jurisdiction in matters referred to them by the Circuit Courts. They have the power and authority of the Circuit Court sitting without a jury, to regulate all proceedings in every hearing before them, and to perform all acts and take all measures necessary or proper for the efficient performance of their duties under the order of reference. This includes the power to rule on all motions, require the production of evidence, rule upon the admissibility of evidence, and call witnesses and examine them under oath. Masters may also conduct sales under certain circumstances. There are currently 23 counties with a Master-In-Equity. Act 55 of 1999 and Rule 53, SCRCP, altered the appeals process or final judgments. Instead of going to the Circuit Court these appeals will now go to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals as provided by the Appellate Court rules.