34 CFR 21.50 - Standards for awards.
(a) In determining the reasonableness of the amount sought as an award of fees and expenses for an attorney, agent, or expert witness, the adjudicative officer shall consider one or more of the following:
(i) If the attorney, agent, or expert witness is in private practice, his or her customary fee for similar services; or
(ii) If the attorney, agent, or expert witness is an employee of the applicant, the fully allocated cost of the services.
(2) The prevailing rate for similar services in the community in which the attorney, agent, or expert witness ordinarily performs services.
(3) The time the attorney, agent, or expert witness actually spent on the applicant's behalf with respect to the adversary adjudication.
(4) The time the attorney, agent, or expert witness reasonably spent in light of the difficulty or complexity of the covered issues in the adversary adjudication.
(5) Any other factors that may bear on the value of the services provided by the attorney, agent, or expert witness.
(b) The adjudicative officer may not grant -
(1) An award for the fee of an attorney or agent in excess of $75.00 per hour; or
(2) An award to compensate an expert witness in excess of the highest rate at which the Department pays expert witnesses.
(c) The adjudicative officer may also determine whether -
(1) Any study, analysis, engineering report, text, or project for which the applicant seeks an award was necessary for the preparation of the applicant's case in the adversary adjudication; and
(2) The costs claimed by the applicant for this item or items are reasonable.
(d) The adjudicative officer may not make an award to an eligible party if the adjudicative officer, the CRRA, or the Secretary on review finds that, based on a review of the administrative record as a whole -
(1) The position of the Department, as defined in § 21.3, was substantially justified; or
(2) Special circumstances make an award unjust.
(f) If an applicant is entitled to an award because the applicant prevailed over another agency of the United States that participated in a proceeding before the Department and that agency's position was not substantially justified, the adjudicative officer shall determine whether to make the award, or an appropriate portion of the award, against that agency. For the purpose of this determination, the requirements of this subpart apply.