Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Family Court Division, of Philadelphia, Jan. T., 1970, No. 1553, in case of Richard A. Sprague v. Jacqueline E. Sprague.
John R. McConnell, with him David S. Markson, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellant.
Edwin P. Rome, with him Blank, Rome, Klaus & Comisky, for appellee.
Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Packel, JJ. Dissenting Opinion by Packel, J. Spaulding, J., joins in this dissenting opinion.
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The disposition of divorce proceedings, referred to masters is at all times within the control of the courts of common pleas, which by proper order or rule should provide for a more expeditious determination than was made of the present case.
The procedural question was very ably covered by the opinion of the court below wherein it sets forth the following:
"Unusual difficulties were encountered by the Master in scheduling hearings in the case. On a number of occasions, hearings which had been fixed had to be cancelled because of the busy schedule of counsel for the defendant. In any event, the litigation was protracted far beyond the normal period required for the disposition of contested divorce cases. It reached a point where we determined that we had a duty to exercise our power of supervision and to intervene in order to bring the litigation to a close. Geyer v. Geyer, 124 Pa. Superior Ct. 313. We were of the opinion that decisive action was required. Accordingly we forwarded the letter dated December 15, 1971 to the Master and to counsel for the parties.
"Counsel for the defendant contends that the letter by the Master, dated December 21st, fixing a hearing for December 28th, was in violation of the Philadelphia local rule requiring ten (10) days' notice of the scheduling
[ 223 Pa. Super. Page 47]
of a Master's meeting. This rule applied only to the first meeting to be held by the Master in order to give the parties ample notice that hearings in the nature of a trial are to commence. It is not intended to apply to subsequent hearings because the rules contemplate an expeditious conclusion of the hearings once they commence, on a day-to-day basis, if possible. The Master, upon receipt of our letter, called the offices of both attorneys. He was ...