501.40 Consent findings and order.§ 501.40 Consent findings and order.
(a) General. At any time after the commencement of a proceeding under this part, but prior to the reception of evidence in any such proceeding, a party may move to defer the receipt of any evidence for a reasonable time to permit negotiation of an agreement containing consent findings and an order disposing of the whole or any part of the proceeding. The allowance of such deferment and the duration thereof shall be at the discretion of the ALJ, after consideration of the nature of the proceeding, the requirements of the public interest, the representations of the parties, and the probability of an agreement being reached which will result in a just disposition of the issues involved.
(b) Content. Any agreement containing consent findings and an order disposing of a proceeding or any part thereof shall also provide:
(1) That the order shall have the same force and effect as an order made after full hearing;
(2) That the entire record on which any order may be based shall consist solely of the notice of administrative determination (or amended notice, if one is filed), and the agreement;
(3) A waiver of any further procedural steps before the ALJ; and
(4) A waiver of any right to challenge or contest the validity of the findings and order entered into in accordance with the agreement.
(c) Submission. On or before the expiration of the time granted for negotiations, the parties or their authorized representatives or their counsel may:
(1) Submit the proposed agreement for consideration by the ALJ; or
(2) Inform the ALJ that agreement cannot be reached.
(d) Disposition. In the event an agreement containing consent findings and an order is submitted within the time allowed therefor, the ALJ, within 30 days thereafter, shall, if satisfied with its form and substance, accept such agreement by issuing a decision based upon the agreed findings.