§ 20.704Rule 704. Scheduling and notice of hearings conducted by the Board of Veterans' Appeals at Department of Veterans Affairs field facilities.
(a)General. Hearings are conducted by a Member or Members of the Board of Veterans' Appeals during prescheduled visits to Department of Veterans Affairs facilities having adequate physical resources and personnel for the support of such hearings. Subject to paragraph (f) of this section, the hearings will be scheduled in the order specified in § 19.75 of this chapter. Requests for such hearings must be submitted to the agency of original jurisdiction, in writing, and should not be submitted directly to the Board of Veterans' Appeals.
(b)Notification of hearing. When a hearing is scheduled, the person requesting it will be notified of its time and place, and of the fact that the Government may not assume any expense incurred by the appellant, the representative or witnesses attending the hearing.
(c)Requests for changes in hearing dates. Requests for a change in a hearing date may be made at any time up to two weeks prior to the scheduled date of the hearing if good cause is shown. Such requests must be in writing, must explain why a new hearing date is necessary, and must be filed with the office of the official of the Department of Veterans Affairs who signed the notice of the original hearing date. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, illness of the appellant and/or representative, difficulty in obtaining necessary records, and unavailability of a necessary witness. If good cause is shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date after the appellant or his or her representative gives notice that the contingency which gave rise to the request for postponement has been removed. If good cause is not shown, the appellant and his or her representative will be promptly notified and given an opportunity to appear at the hearing as previously scheduled. If the appellant elects not to appear at the prescheduled date, the request for a hearing will be considered to have been withdrawn. In such cases, however, the record will be submitted for review by the Member who would have presided over the hearing. If the presiding Member determines that good cause has been shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date after the contingency which gave rise to the request for postponement has been removed.
(d)Failure to appear for a scheduled hearing. If an appellant (or when a hearing only for oral argument by a representative has been authorized, the representative) fails to appear for a scheduled hearing and a request for postponement has not been received and granted, the case will be processed as though the request for a hearing had been withdrawn. No further request for a hearing will be granted in the same appeal unless such failure to appear was with good cause and the cause for the failure to appear arose under such circumstances that a timely request for postponement could not have been submitted prior to the scheduled hearing date. A motion for a new hearing date following a failure to appear for a scheduled hearing must be in writing, must be filed within 15 days of the originally scheduled hearing date, and must explain why the appellant failed to appear for the hearing and why a timely request for a new hearing date could not have been submitted. Such motions must be filed with: Director, Management and Administration (01E), Board of Veterans' Appeals, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420. Whether good cause for such failure to appear and the impossibility of timely requesting postponement have been established will be determined by the Member who would have presided over the hearing. If good cause and the impossibility of timely requesting postponement are shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date at the same facility after the appellant or his or her representative gives notice that the contingency which gave rise to the failure to appear has been removed.
(e)Withdrawal of hearing requests. A request for a hearing may be withdrawn by an appellant at any time before the date of the hearing. A request for a hearing may not be withdrawn by an appellant's representative without the consent of the appellant. Notices of withdrawal must be submitted to the office of the Department of Veterans Affairs official who signed the notice of the hearing date.
(f)Advancement of the case on the hearing docket. A hearing may be scheduled at a time earlier than would be provided for under § 19.75 of this chapter upon written motion of the appellant or the representative. The same grounds for granting relief, motion filing procedures, and designation of authority to rule on the motion specified in Rule 900(c) (§ 20.900(c) of this part) for advancing a case on the Board's docket shall apply.