14 CFR 302.31 - Initial and recommended decisions; certification of the record.
(a) Action by administrative law judge after hearing. Except where the DOT decisionmaker directs otherwise, after the taking of evidence and the receipt of briefs which may include proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, if any, the administrative law judge shall take the following action:
(1) Initial decision. If the proceeding does not involve foreign air transportation, the administrative law judge shall render an “initial decision.” Such decision shall encompass the administrative law judge's decision on the merits of the proceeding and on all ancillary procedural issues remaining for disposition at the close of the hearing.
(2) Recommended decision. In cases where the action of the Department involves foreign air transportation and is subject to review by the President of the United States pursuant to section 41307 of the Statute, the administrative law judge shall render a “recommended decision.” Such decision shall encompass the administrative law judge's decision on the merits of the proceeding and on all ancillary procedural issues remaining for disposition at the close of the hearing.
(b) Certification to the DOT decisionmaker for decision. At any time prior to the close of the hearing, the DOT decisionmaker may direct the administrative law judge to certify any question or the entire record in the proceeding to the DOT decisionmaker for decision. In cases where the record is thus certified, the administrative law judge shall not render a decision but shall make a recommendation to the DOT decisionmaker as required by section 8(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 558(a)) unless advised by the DOT decisionmaker that he or she intends to issue a tentative decision.
(c) Every initial or recommended decision issued shall state the names of the persons who are to be served with copies of it, the time within which exceptions to, or petitions for review of, such decision may be filed, and the time within which briefs in support of the exceptions may be filed. In addition, every such decision shall recite that it is made under delegated authority, and contain notice of the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section. In the event the administrative law judge certifies the record to the DOT decisionmaker without an initial or recommended decision, he or she shall notify the parties of the time within which to file with the DOT decisionmaker briefs which may include proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(d) Unless a petition for discretionary review is filed pursuant to § 302.32, exceptions are filed pursuant to § 302.217, or the DOT decisionmaker issues an order to review upon his or her own initiative, the initial decision shall become effective as the final order of the Department thirty (30) days after service thereof; in the case of a recommended decision, that decision shall be transmitted to the President of the United States under 49 U.S.C. 41307. If a petition for discretionary review or exceptions are timely filed or action to review is taken by the DOT decisionmaker upon his or her own initiative, the effectiveness of the initial decision or the transmission of the recommended decision is stayed until the further order of the DOT decisionmaker.