California Code of Civil Procedure 873.010 is the California partition statute that describes the power and duty of a partition referee as appointed by the court. The statute provides that:
(a) The court shall appoint a referee to divide or sell the property as ordered by the court.California Code of Civil Procedure 873.010
(b) The court may:
(1) Determine whether a referee’s bond is necessary and fix the amount of the bond.
(2) Instruct the referee.
(3) Fix the reasonable compensation for the services of the referee and provide for payment of the referee’s reasonable expenses.
(4) Provide for the date of commencement of the lien of the referee allowed by law.
(5) Require the filing of interim or final accounts of the referee, settle the accounts of the referee, and discharge the referee.
(6) Remove the referee.
(7) Appoint a new referee.
The most important part of this statute is the mandate that “The court shall appoint a referee to divide or sell the property as ordered by the court.”Code of Civil Procedure 873.010(a) This gives the court no discretion to turn down the appointment of a referee so long as the plaintiff is indeed entitled to partition. In most cases, the right to partition is absolute such that the court will be required to enter a judgment of partition appointing a referee, usually to market and sell the property.Code of Civil Procedure 872.720