Variation from standard proceedings [Rule 51].
The ultimate purpose of any Board proceeding is to resolve fairly and expeditiously any dispute properly before the Board. When, during the normal course of a Board proceeding, the parties agree that a change in established procedure will promote this purpose, the Board will make that change if it is deemed to be feasible and in the best interest of the parties, the Board, and the resolution of the issue(s) in controversy. Although any party may ask the Board to vary from standard proceedings, individuals and small businesses may find such variations to be especially useful. The following are examples of these changes:
Establishing an expedited schedule of proceedings, such as by limiting the times provided in 6101.1 through 6101.34 (Rules 1 through 34) for various filings, to facilitate a prompt resolution of the case;
Developing a record and rendering a decision on the issue of entitlement prior to reviewing the issue of quantum in a party's claim;
Developing a record and rendering a decision on any legal or factual issue in advance of others when that issue is deemed critical to resolving the case or effecting a settlement of any items in dispute; and
Developing a record regarding relevant facts through an on-the-record round-table discussion with sworn witnesses, counsel, and the presiding judge rather than through formal direct and cross-examination of each of these same witnesses. This discussion shall be controlled by the presiding judge. It may be conducted, for example, through the presentation of narrative statements of witnesses or on an issue by issue basis. The presiding judge may also request that the parties' counsel or representatives present opening and/or closing statements in lieu of written briefs.
[72 FR 36795, July 5, 2007, as amended at 73 FR 26952, May 12, 2008]