43 CFR § 30.122 - Is the judge required to accept the master's recommended decision?
No, the judge is not required to accept the master's recommended decision.
(a) An interested party may file objections to the report and recommended decision within 30 days of the date of mailing. An objecting party must simultaneously mail or deliver copies of the objections to all other interested parties.
(b) Any other interested party may file responses to the objections within 15 days of the mailing or delivery of the objections. A responding party must simultaneously mail or deliver a copy of his or her responses to the objecting party.
(c) The judge will review the record of the proceedings heard by the master, including any objections and responses filed, and determine whether the master's report and recommended decision are supported by the evidence of record.
(1) If the judge finds that the report and recommended decision are supported by the evidence of record and are consistent with applicable law, the judge will enter an order adopting the recommended decision.
(2) If the judge finds that the report and recommended decision are not supported by the evidence of record, the judge may do any of the following:
(i) Remand the case to the master for further proceedings consistent with instructions in the remand order;
(ii) Make new findings of fact based on the evidence in the record, make conclusions of law, and enter a decision; or
(iii) Hear the case de novo, make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and enter a decision.
(3) The judge may find that the master's findings of fact are supported by the evidence in the record but the conclusions of law or the recommended decision is not consistent with applicable law. In this case, the judge will issue an order adopting the findings of fact, making conclusions of law, and entering a decision.