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Article 3--Adjudicatory Proceedings
§ 301. Hearings
- In an adjudicatory proceeding, all parties shall be afforded an opportunity for hearing within reasonable time.
- All parties shall be given reasonable notice of such hearing, which notice shall include (a) a statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; (b) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (c) a reference to the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved, where possible; (d) a short and plain statement of matters asserted; and (e) a statement that interpreter services shall be made available to deaf persons, at no charge, pursuant to this section. Upon application of any party, a more definite and detailed statement shall be furnished whenever the agency finds that the statement is not sufficiently definite or not sufficiently detailed. The finding of the agency as to the sufficiency of definiteness or detail of the statement or its failure or refusal to furnish a more definite or detailed statement shall not be subject to judicial review. Any statement furnished shall be deemed, in all respects, to be a part of the notice of hearing.
- Agencies shall adopt rules governing the procedures on adjudicatory proceedings and appeals, in accordance with provisions of article two of this chapter, and shall prepare a summary of such procedures in plain language. Agencies shall make such summaries available to the public upon request, and a copy of such summary shall be provided to any party cited by the agency for violation of the laws, rules or orders enforced by the agency.
- All parties shall be afforded an opportunity to present written argument on issues of law and an opportunity to present evidence and such argument on issues of fact, provided however that nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit an agency from allowing parties to present oral argument within a reasonable time. In fixing the time and place for hearings and oral argument, due regard shall be had for the convenience of the parties.
- Unless precluded by statute, disposition may be made of any adjudicatory proceeding by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order, default, or other informal method.
- Whenever any deaf person is a party to an adjudicatory proceeding before an agency, or a witness therein, such agency in all instances shall appoint a qualified interpreter who is certified by a recognized national or New York state credentialing authority to interpret the proceedings to, and the testimony of, such deaf person. The agency conducting the adjudicatory proceeding shall determine a reasonable fee for all such interpreting services which shall be a charge upon the agency.
§ 302. Record
- The record in an adjudicatory proceeding shall include: (a) all notices, pleadings, motions, intermediate rulings; (b) evidence presented; (c) a statement of matters officially noticed except matters so obvious that a statement of them would serve no useful purpose; (d) questions and offers of proof, objections thereto, and rulings thereon; (e) proposed findings and exceptions, if any; (f) any findings of fact, conclusions of law or other recommendations made by a presiding officer; and (g) any decision, determination, opinion, order or report rendered.
- The agency shall make a complete record of all adjudicatory proceedings conducted before it. For this purpose, unless otherwise required by statute, the agency may use whatever means it deems appropriate, including but not limited to the use of stenographic transcriptions or electronic recording devices. Upon request made by any party upon the agency within a reasonable time, but prior to the time for commencement of judicial review, of its giving notice of its decision, determination, opinion or order, the agency shall prepare the record together with any transcript of proceedings within a reasonable time and shall furnish a copy of the record and transcript or any part thereof to any party as he may request. Except when any statute provides otherwise, the agency is authorized to charge not more than its cost for the preparation and furnishing of such record or transcript or any part thereof, or the rate specified in the contract between the agency and a contractor if prepared by a private contractor.
- Findings of fact shall be based exclusively on the evidence and on matters officially noticed.
§ 303. Presiding officers
Except as otherwise provided by statute, the agency, one or more members of the agency, or one or more hearing officers designated and empowered by the agency to conduct hearings shall be presiding officers. Hearings shall be conducted in an impartial manner. Upon the filing in good faith by a party of a timely and sufficient affidavit of personal bias or disqualification of a presiding officer, the agency shall determine the matter as part of the record in the case, and its determination shall be a matter subject to judicial review at the conclusion of the adjudicatory proceeding. Whenever a presiding officer is disqualified or it becomes impractical for him to continue the hearing, another presiding officer may be assigned to continue with the case unless it is shown that substantial prejudice to the party will result therefrom.
§ 304. Powers of presiding officers
Except as otherwise provided by statute, presiding officers are authorized to:
- Administer oaths and affirmations.
- Sign and issue subpoenas in the name of the agency, at the request of any party, requiring attendance and giving of testimony by witnesses and the production of books, papers, documents and other evidence and said subpoenas shall be regulated by the civil practice law and rules. Nothing herein contained shall affect the authority of an attorney for a party to issue such subpoenas under the provisions of the civil practice law and rules.
- Provide for the taking of testimony by deposition.
- Regulate the course of the hearings, set the time and place for continued hearings, and fix the time for filing of briefs and other documents.
- Direct the parties to appear and confer to consider the simplification of the issues by consent to the parties.
- Recommend to the agency that a stay be granted in accordance with section three hundred four, three hundred six or three hundred seven of the military law.
§ 305. Disclosure
Each agency having power to conduct adjudicatory proceedings may adopt rules providing for discovery and depositions to the extent and in the manner appropriate to its proceedings.
§ 306. Evidence
- Irrelevant or unduly repetitious evidence or cross-examination may be excluded. Except as otherwise provided by statute, the burden of proof shall be on the party who initiated the proceeding. No decision, determination or order shall be made except upon consideration of the record as a whole or such portion thereof as may be cited by any party to the proceeding and as supported by and in accordance with substantial evidence. Unless otherwise provided by any statute, agencies need not observe the rules of evidence observed by courts, but shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law. Objections to evidentiary offers may be made and shall be noted in the record. Subject to these requirements, an agency may, for the purpose of expediting hearings, and when the interests of parties will not be substantially prejudiced thereby, adopt procedures for the submission of all or part of the evidence in written form.
- All evidence, including records and documents in the possession of the agency of which it desires to avail itself, shall be offered and made a part of the record, and all such documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts, or by incorporation by reference. In case of incorporation by reference, the materials so incorporated shall be available for examination by the parties before being received in evidence.
- A party shall have the right of cross-examination.
- Official notice may be taken of all facts of which judicial notice could be taken and of other facts within the specialized knowledge of the agency. When official notice is taken of a material fact not appearing in the evidence in the record and of which judicial notice could not be taken, every party shall be given notice thereof and shall on timely request be afforded an opportunity prior to decision to dispute the fact or its materiality.
§ 307. Decisions, determinations and orders
- A final decision, determination or order adverse to a party in an adjudicatory proceeding shall be in writing or stated in the record and shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law or reasons for the decision, determination or order. Findings of fact, if set forth in statutory language, shall be accompanied by a concise and explicit statement of the underlying facts supporting the findings. If, in accordance with agency rules, a party submitted proposed findings of fact, the decision, determination or order shall include a ruling upon each proposed finding. A copy of the decision, determination or order shall be delivered or mailed forthwith to each party and to his attorney of record.
- Unless required for the disposition of ex parte matters authorized by law, members or employees of an agency assigned to render a decision or to make findings of fact and conclusions of law in an adjudicatory proceeding shall not communicate, directly or indirectly, in connection with any issue of fact, with any person or party, nor, in connection with any issue of law, with any party or his representative, except upon notice an opportunity for all parties to participate. Any such agency member (a) may communicate with other members of the agency, and (b) may have the aid and advice of agency staff other than staff which has been or is engaged in the investigative or prosecuting functions in connection with the case under consideration or factually related case.
This subdivision does not apply (a) in determining applications for initial licenses for public utilities or carriers; or (b) to proceedings involving the validity or application of rates, facilities, or practices of public utilities or carriers.
- (a) Each agency shall maintain an index by name and subject of all written final decisions, determinations and orders rendered by the agency in adjudicatory proceedings. Such index and the text of any such written final decision, determination or order shall be available for public inspection and copying. Each decision, determination and order shall be indexed within sixty days after having been rendered.
(b) An agency may delete from any such index, decision, determination or order any information that, if disclosed, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of the public officers law and may also delete at the request of any person all references to trade secrets that, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of such person. Information which would reveal confidential material protected by federal or state statute, shall be deleted from any such index, decision, determination or order.