21 CFR 12.50 - Advice on public participation in hearings.
(a) Designated agency contact. All inquiries from the public about scheduling, location, and general procedures should be addressed to the Deputy Commissioner for Policy (HF-22), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, or telephone 301-443-3480. The staff of the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs will attempt to respond promptly to all inquiries from members of the public, as well as to simple requests for information from participants in hearings.
(b) Hearing schedule changes. Requests by hearing participants for changes in the schedule of a hearing or for filing documents, briefs, or other pleadings should be made in writing directly to the Administrative Law Judge (HF-3), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.
(c) Legal advice to individuals. FDA does not have the resources to provide legal advice to members of the public concerning participation in hearings. Furthermore, to do so would compromise the independence of the Commissioner's office and invite charges of improper interference in the hearing process. Accordingly, the Deputy Commissioner for Policy (HF-22) will not answer questions about the strengths or weaknesses of a party's position at a hearing, litigation strategy, or similar matters.
(d) Role of the office of the Chief Counsel. Under no circumstances will the office of the Chief Counsel of FDA directly provide advice about a hearing to any person who is participating or may participate in the hearing. In every hearing, certain attorneys in the office are designated to represent the center or centers whose action is the subject of the hearing. Other members of the office, including ordinarily the Chief Counsel, are designated to advise the Commissioner on a final decision in the matter. It is not compatible with these functions, nor would it be professionally responsible, for the attorneys in the office of the Chief Counsel also to advise other participants in a hearing, or for any attorney who may be called on to advise the Commissioner to respond to inquiries from other participants in the hearing, for such participants may be urging views contrary to those of the center involved or to what may ultimately be the final conclusions of the Commissioner. Accordingly, members of the office of the Chief Counsel, other than the attorneys responsible for representing the center whose action is the subject of the hearing, will not answer questions about the hearing from any participant or potential participant.
(e) Communication between participants and attorneys. Participants in a hearing may communicate with the attorneys responsible for representing the center whose action is the subject of the hearing, in the same way that they may communicate with counsel for any other party in interest about the presentation of matters at the hearing. It would be inappropriate to bar discussion of such matters as stipulations of fact, joint presentation of witnesses, or possible settlement of hearing issues. Members of the public, including participants at hearings, are advised, however, that all such communications, including those by telephone, will be recorded in memoranda that can be filed with the Division of Dockets Management.