§ 201.360 Initial decision of hearing officer and timing of hearing.  


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  • (a)(1) When required. Unless the Commission directs otherwise, the hearing officer shall prepare an initial decision in any proceeding in which the Commission directs a hearing officer to preside at a hearing, provided, however, that an initial decision may be waived by the parties with the consent of the hearing officer pursuant to §201.202.

    (2) Time period for filing initial decision and for hearing—(i) Initial decision. In the order instituting proceedings, the Commission will specify a time period in which the hearing officer's initial decision must be filed with the Secretary. In the Commission's discretion, after consideration of the nature, complexity, and urgency of the subject matter, and with due regard for the public interest and the protection of investors, this time period will be either 30, 75, or 120 days. The time period will run from the occurrence of the following events:

    (A) The completion of post-hearing briefing in a proceeding where the hearing has been completed; or

    (B) The completion of briefing on a §201.250 motion in the event the hearing officer has determined that no hearing is necessary; or

    (C) The determination by the hearing officer that, pursuant to §201.155, a party is deemed to be in default and no hearing is necessary.

    (ii) Hearing. Under the 120-day timeline, the hearing officer shall issue an order scheduling the hearing to begin approximately four months (but no more than ten months) from the date of service of the order instituting the proceeding. Under the 75-day timeline, the hearing officer shall issue an order scheduling the hearing to begin approximately 212 months (but no more than six months) from the date of service of the order instituting the proceeding. Under the 30-day timeline, the hearing officer shall issue an order scheduling the hearing to begin approximately one month (but no more than four months) from the date of service of the order instituting the proceeding. These deadlines confer no substantive rights on respondents. If a stay is granted pursuant to §201.161(c)(2)(i) or §201.210(c)(3), the time period specified in the order instituting proceedings in which the hearing officer's initial decision must be filed with the Secretary, as well as any other time limits established in orders issued by the hearing officer in the proceeding, shall be automatically tolled during the period while the stay is in effect.

    (3) Certification of extension; motion for extension. (i) In the event that the hearing officer presiding over the proceeding determines that it will not be possible to file the initial decision within the specified period of time, the hearing officer may certify to the Commission in writing the need to extend the initial decision deadline by up to 30 days for case management purposes. The certification must be issued no later than 30 days prior to the expiration of the time specified for the issuance of an initial decision and be served on the Commission and all parties in the proceeding. If the Commission has not issued an order to the contrary within 14 days after receiving the certification, the extension set forth in the hearing officer's certification shall take effect.

    (ii) Either in addition to a certification of extension, or instead of a certification of extension, the Chief Administrative Law Judge may submit a motion to the Commission requesting an extension of the time period for filing the initial decision. First, the hearing officer presiding over the proceeding must consult with the Chief Administrative Law Judge. Following such consultation, the Chief Administrative Law Judge may determine, in his or her discretion, to submit a motion to the Commission requesting an extension of the time period for filing the initial decision. This motion may request an extension of any length but must be filed no later than 15 days prior to the expiration of the time specified in the certification of extension, or if there is no certification of extension, 30 days prior to the expiration of the time specified in the order instituting proceedings. The motion will be served upon all parties in the proceeding, who may file with the Commission statements in support of or in opposition to the motion. If the Commission determines that additional time is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, the Commission shall issue an order extending the time period for filing the initial decision.

    (iii) The provisions of this paragraph (a)(3) confer no rights on respondents.

    (b) Content. An initial decision shall include findings and conclusions, and the reasons or basis therefor, as to all the material issues of fact, law or discretion presented on the record and the appropriate order, sanction, relief, or denial thereof. The initial decision shall also state the time period, not to exceed 21 days after service of the decision, except for good cause shown, within which a petition for review of the initial decision may be filed. The reasons for any extension of time shall be stated in the initial decision. The initial decision shall also include a statement that, as provided in paragraph (d) of this section:

    (1) The Commission will enter an order of finality as to each party unless a party or an aggrieved person entitled to review timely files a petition for review of the initial decision or a motion to correct a manifest error of fact in the initial decision with the hearing officer, or the Commission determines on its own initiative to review the initial decision; and

    (2) If a party or an aggrieved person entitled to review timely files a petition for review or a motion to correct a manifest error of fact in the initial decision with the hearing officer, or if the Commission takes action to review as to a party or an aggrieved person entitled to review, the initial decision shall not become final as to that party or person.

    (c) Filing, service and publication. The Secretary shall promptly serve the initial decision upon the parties and shall promptly publish notice of the filing thereof on the SEC website; provided, however, that in nonpublic proceedings no notice shall be published unless the Commission otherwise directs.

    (d) Finality. (1) If a party or an aggrieved person entitled to review timely files a petition for review or a motion to correct a manifest error of fact in the initial decision, or if the Commission on its own initiative orders review of a decision with respect to a party or a person aggrieved who would be entitled to review, the initial decision shall not become final as to that party or person.

    (2) If a party or aggrieved person entitled to review fails to file timely a petition for review or a motion to correct a manifest error of fact in the initial decision, and if the Commission does not order review of a decision on its own initiative, the Commission will issue an order that the decision has become final as to that party. The decision becomes final upon issuance of the order. The order of finality shall state the date on which sanctions, if any, take effect. Notice of the order shall be published on the SEC website.

    [60 FR 32796, June 23, 1995, as amended at 68 FR 35789, June 17, 2003; 69 FR 13178, Mar. 19, 2004; 81 FR 50239, July 29, 2016; 83 FR 25366, June 1, 2018]

[60 FR 32796, June 23, 1995, as amended at 68 FR 35789, June 17, 2003; 69 FR 13178, Mar. 19, 2004; 81 FR 50239, July 29, 2016; 83 FR 25366, June 1, 2018