28 CFR 76.20 - Consent Order or settlement prior to hearing.
(a)Generally. At any time after the commencement of a proceeding, the parties jointly may move to defer the hearing for a reasonable time to permit negotiation of a settlement or an agreement containing findings and an order disposing of the whole or any part of the proceeding. The allowance of such deferment and the duration thereof shall be at the discretion of the Judge, after consideration of such factors as the nature of the proceeding, the requirements of the public interest, the representations of the parties, and the probability of reaching an agreement which will result in a just disposition of the issue involved. The Judge may require the parties to submit progress reports on a regular basis as to the status of negotiations.
(b)Consent orders. Any agreement containing consent findings and an order disposing of a proceeding or any part thereof shall also provide:
(1) That the order shall have the same force and effect as an order made after full hearing;
(2) That the entire record on which any order may be based shall consist solely of the complaint or notice of administrative determination (or amended notice, if one is filed), as appropriate, and the agreement;
(3) A waiver of any further procedural steps before the Judge; and
(4) A waiver of any right to challenge or contest the validity of the order entered into in accordance with the agreement.
(c)Submission. On or before the expiration of the time granted for negotiations, the parties or their counsel may:
(1) Submit the proposed agreement containing consent findings and an order for consideration by the Judge; or
(2) Notify the Judge that the parties have reached a full settlement and have agreed to dismissal of the action; or
(3) Inform the Judge that agreement cannot be reached.
(d)Disposition. In the event that an agreement containing consent findings and an order is submitted, the Judge, within thirty (30) days or as soon as practicable thereafter may, if satisfied with its timeliness, form, and substance, accept such agreement by issuing a decision based upon the agreed findings. The Judge has the discretionary authority to conduct a hearing to determine the fairness of the agreement, consent findings, and proposed order.