Clerk and Master

Katherine Priester

Clerk and Master


Katherine Priester was appointed as Clerk and Master for Sullivan County in 2013.  Prior to her appointment as Clerk and Master, she practiced law as a sole practitioner in Kingsport, Tennessee for over 6 years.  Mrs. Priester holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from East Tennessee State University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Mrs. Priester has been admitted to practice law in the State of Tennessee, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee and in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She also became a listed Rule 31 Mediator in 2011.  She received her certification from the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service as a Certified Public Administrator in 2015.

Since her appointment, Mrs. Priester has actively served in various capacities in the East Tennessee State Court Clerks’ Association.  She served as the Secretary in 2014-2015, as Vice President in 2015-2016 and as President in 2016-2017.  Mrs. Priester has also served on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee State Court Clerks’ Association since 2015.  Mrs. Priester served on the TJIS/Caseload Cleanup Work Group in 2016

Presently, Mrs. Priester is a member of: Tennessee State Court Clerks’ Association, County Officials’ Association of Tennessee, Tennessee Property Tax Professionals’ Association, Tennessee Bar Association, Kingsport Bar Association, and Bristol Bar Association.  Mrs. Priester is also an active member of Rotary in Kingsport.


Authority & Duties

The Clerk and Master of the Chancery Court, in addition to all the duties and powers conferred upon Clerks of the Courts generally and to various other special duties and powers, is “authorized to perform all the functions of Masters in Chancery, unless restrained by the provisions of law” so that they are both Clerk and Master (Tennessee Code Annotated 18-5-103).

The duties of a clerk are almost exclusively clerical; and this office’s powers are strictly defined by law and the orders of the court. The clerk exercises no judicial functions and has but little discretion. The master, on the contrary, is a judicial officer and is clothed with many powers of the chancellor himself (“Gibson’s Suits in Chancery, 5th Edition,” Gibson 1955, Chapter LXVI, sec. 1222).


Office Details

Clerk and Master: The clerk acts as the principal administrative aide to the Chancery Court and provides assistance in the areas of courtroom administration and records management, docket maintenance, revenue management, maintenance of court minutes, official communication, and various other court-associated duties (Tennessee Constitution Annotated 18-1-105, 18-2-101 et seq. and 18-5-102 et seq.). The clerk is appointed by a majority of the chancellors for a six-year term.

Jurisdiction of the Chancery Court: The General Assembly determines the Chancery Court’s jurisdiction, and may increase, decrease or alter its jurisdiction (TENN. CONST. Art. VI, 8). Chancery courts “shall have all the powers, privileges and jurisdiction properly and rightfully incident to a court of equity” (T.C.A. 16-11-101). This inherent jurisdiction is original and exclusive in cases of an equitable nature.

Concurrent Jurisdiction of Chancery and Circuit Courts: Chancery Court has concurrent jurisdiction with Circuit Court to hear “all civil cases of action, triable in Circuit Court, except for unliquidated damages for injuries to person or character, and except for unliquidated damages for injuries to property not resulting from a breach of oral or written contract” (T.C.A. 18-1-105).