(a) Who presides.
Hearings in adjudicative proceedings shall be presided over by a duly qualified Administrative Law Judge or by the Commission or one or more members of the Commission sitting as Administrative Law Judges; and the term Administrative Law Judge as used in this part means and applies to the Commission or any of its members when so sitting.
(b) How assigned.
The presiding Administrative Law Judge shall be designated by the Chief Administrative Law Judge or, when the Commission or one or more of its members preside, by the Commission, who shall notify the parties of the Administrative Law Judge designated.
(c) Powers and duties.
Administrative Law Judges shall have the duty to conduct fair and impartial hearings, to take all necessary action to avoid delay in the disposition of proceedings, and to maintain order. They shall have all powers necessary to that end, including the following:
To administer oaths and affirmations;
To issue subpenas and orders requiring answers to questions;
To take depositions or to cause depositions to be taken;
To compel admissions, upon request of a party or on their own initiative;
To rule upon offers of proof and receive evidence;
To regulate the course of the hearings and the conduct of the parties and their counsel therein;
To hold conferences for settlement, simplification of the issues, or any other proper purpose;
To consider and rule upon, as justice may require, all procedural and other motions appropriate in an adjudicative proceeding, including motions to open defaults;
To make and file initial decisions;
To certify questions to the Commission for its determination;
To reject written submissions that fail to comply with rule requirements, or deny in camera status without prejudice until a party complies with all relevant rules; and
To take any action authorized by the rules in this part or in conformance with the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act as restated and incorporated in title 5, U.S.C.
(d) Suspension of attorneys by Administrative Law Judge.
The Administrative Law Judge shall have the authority, for good cause stated on the record, to suspend or bar from participation in a particular proceeding any attorney who shall refuse to comply with his directions, or who shall be guilty of disorderly, dilatory, obstructionist, or contumacious conduct, or contemptuous language in the course of such proceeding. Any attorney so suspended or barred may appeal to the Commission in accordance with the provisions of § 3.23(a). The appeal shall not operate to suspend the hearing unless otherwise ordered by the Administrative Law Judge or the Commission; in the event the hearing is not suspended, the attorney may continue to participate therein pending disposition of the appeal.
(e) Substitution of Administrative Law Judge.
In the event of the substitution of a new Administrative Law Judge for the one originally designated, any motion predicated upon such substitution shall be made within five (5) days thereafter.
In the performance of their adjudicative functions, Administrative Law Judges shall not be responsible to or subject to the supervision or direction of any officer, employee, or agent engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecuting functions for the Commission, and all direction by the Commission to Administrative Law Judges concerning any adjudicative proceedings shall appear in and be made a part of the record.
(g) Disqualification of Administrative Law Judges.
When an Administrative Law Judge deems himself disqualified to preside in a particular proceeding, he shall withdraw therefrom by notice on the record and shall notify the Director of Administrative Law Judges of such withdrawal.
Whenever any party shall deem the Administrative Law Judge for any reason to be disqualified to preside, or to continue to preside, in a particular proceeding, such party may file with the Secretary a motion addressed to the Administrative Law Judge to disqualify and remove him, such motion to be supported by affidavits setting forth the alleged grounds for disqualification. If the Administrative Law Judge does not disqualify himself within ten (10) days, he shall certify the motion to the Commission, together with any statement he may wish to have considered by the Commission. The Commission shall promptly determine the validity of the grounds alleged, either directly or on the report of another Administrative Law Judge appointed to conduct a hearing for that purpose.
Such motion shall be filed at the earliest practicable time after the participant learns, or could reasonably have learned, of the alleged grounds for disqualification.
(h) Failure to comply with Administrative Law Judge's directions.
Any party who refuses or fails to comply with a lawfully issued order or direction of an Administrative Law Judge may be considered to be in contempt of the Commission. The circumstances of any such neglect, refusal, or failure, together with a recommendation for appropriate action, shall be promptly certified by the Administrative Law Judge to the Commission. The Commission may make such orders in regard thereto as the circumstances may warrant.
[32 FR 8449, June 13, 1967, as amended at 37 FR 5609, Mar. 17, 1972; 41 FR 8340, Feb. 26, 1976; 43 FR 56868, Dec. 4, 1978; 46 FR 45750, Sept. 15, 1981; 50 FR 53306, Dec. 31, 1985; 66 FR 17629, Apr. 3, 2001]