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in proceedings under $14.633 of this chapter to terminate the attorney's or agent's right to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Board of Veterans' Appeals. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5902, 5904, 5905) (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0085) [57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 57 FR 38443, Aug. 25, 1992; 59 FR 25330, May 16, 1994; 64 FR 2138, Jan. 13, 1999; 65 FR 14472, Mar. 17, 2000; 67 FR 36104, May 23, 2002)

EFFECTIVE DATE NOTE: At 67 FR 36104, May 23, 2002, $20.609 was amended by revising paragraph (i), effective July 22, 2002. For the convenience of the user, the revised text is set forth as follows: 8 20.609 Rule 609. Payment of representa

tive's fees in proceedings before Department of Veterans Affairs field personnel and before the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

which each such copy was mailed. Once there has been a ruling on the motion, an order shall issue which will constitute the final decision of the Board with respect to the motion. If a reduction in the fee is ordered, the attorney or agent must credit the account of the claimant or appellant with the amount of the reduction and refund any excess payment on account to the claimant or appellant not later than the expiration of the time within which the ruling may be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

(i) Motion for review of fee agreement. The Board of Veterans' Appeals may review a fee agreement between a claimant or appellant and an attorney-at-law or agent upon its own motion or upon the motion of any party to the agreement and may order a reduction in the fee called for in the agreement if it finds that the fee is excessive or unreasonable in light of the standards set forth in paragraph (e) of this section. Such motions must be in writing and must include the name of the veteran, the name of the claimant or appellant if other than the veteran, and the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number. Such motions must set forth the reason, or reasons, why the fee called for in the agreement is excessive or unreasonable; must be accompanied by all evidence the moving party desires to submit; and must include a signed statement certifying that a copy of the motion and any evidence was sent by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to each other party to the agreement, setting forth the address to which each such copy was mailed. Such motions (other than motions by the Board) must be filed at the following address: Office of the Senior Deputy Vice Chairman (012), Board of Veterans' Appeals, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20420. The other parties may file a response to the motion, with any accompanying evidence, with the Board at the same address not later than 30 days fol lowing the date of receipt of the copy of the motion and must include a signed statement certifying that a copy of the response and any evidence was sent by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to each other party to the agreement, setting forth the address to

$ 20.610 Rule 610. Payment of rep

resentative's expenses in proceedings before Department of Veterans Affairs field personnel and before the Board of Veterans' Ap

peals. (a) Applicability of rule. The provisions of this section apply to the services of representatives with respect to benefits under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs in all proceedings before Department of Veterans Affairs field personnel or before the Board of Veterans' Appeals regardless of whether an appeal has been initiated.

(b) General. Any representative may be reimbursed for expenses incurred on behalf of a veteran or a veteran's dependents or survivors in the prosecution of a claim for benefits pending before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Whether such a representative will be reimbursed for expenses and the method of such reimbursement is a matter to be determined by the representative and the claimant or appellant. Expenses are not payable directly to the representative by the Department of Veterans Affairs out of benefits determined to be due to a claimant or appellant. Unless required in conjunction with a motion for the review of expenses filed in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section, agreements for the reimbursement of expenses need not be filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

(c) Nature of expenses subject to reimbursement. “Expenses" include nonrecurring expenses incurred directly in the prosecution of a claim for benefits upon behalf of a claimant or appellant.

Examples of such expenses include ex- determining whether expenses are expenses for travel specifically to attend cessive or unreasonable include the a hearing with respect to a particular complexity of the case, the potential claim, the cost of copies of medical extent of benefits recoverable, whether records or other documents obtained travel expenses are in keeping with exfrom an outside source, the cost of ob- penses normally incurred by other reptaining the services of an expert wit- resentatives, etc. Once there has been a ness or an expert opinion, etc. “Ex ruling on the motion, an order shall penses" do not include normal over issue which will constitute the final dehead costs of the representative such cision of the Board with respect to the as office rent, utilities, the cost of ob- motion. taining or operating office equipment (e) In addition to whatever other penor a legal library, salaries of the rep- alties may be prescribed by law or regresentative and his or her support ulation, failure to comply with the restaff, the cost of office supplies, etc. quirements of this section may result (d) Expense charges permitted; motion

in proceedings under $14.633 of this for review of expenses. Reimbursement

chapter to terminate the attorney's or for the expenses of a representative

agent's right to practice before the Demay be obtained only if the expenses

partment of Veterans Affairs and the are reasonable. The Board of Veterans'

Board of Veterans' Appeals. Appeals may review expenses charged by a representative upon the motion of (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5904) the claimant or appellant and may

(Approved by the Office of Management and order a reduction in the expenses

Budget under control number 2900–0085) charged if it finds that they are exces

(57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 57 FR sive or unreasonable. Such motions

38443, Aug. 25, 1992; 67 FR 36105, May 23, 2002] must be in writing and must include the name of the veteran, the name of 8820.612–20.699 [Reserved] the claimant or appellant if other than the veteran, and the applicable Depart

Subpart H-Hearings on Appeal ment of Veterans Affairs file number. Such motions must specifically iden

$20.700 Rule 700. General. tify which expenses charged are unreasonable; must set forth the reason, or (a) Right to a hearing. A hearing on reasons, why such expenses are exces- appeal will be granted if an appellant, sive or unreasonable; must be accom- or an appellant's representative acting panied by all evidence the claimant or on his or her behalf, expresses a desire appellant desires to submit; and must to appear in person. include a signed statement certifying (b) Purpose of hearing. The purpose of that a copy of the motion and any evi- a hearing is to receive argument and dence was sent by first-class mail, testimony relevant and material to the postage prepaid, to the representative. appellate issue. It is contemplated that Such motions must be filed at the fol the appellant and witnesses, if any, lowing address: Office of the Senior will be present. A hearing will not norDeputy Vice Chairman (012), Board of mally be scheduled solely for the purVeterans' Appeals, 810 Vermont Ave- pose of receiving argument by a repnue, NW, Washington, DC 20420. The resentative. Such argument should be representative may file a response to submitted in the form of a written the motion, with any accompanying brief. Oral argument may also be subevidence, with the Board at the same mitted on audio cassette for tranaddress not later than 30 days fol scription for the record in accordance lowing the date of receipt of the copy with paragraph (d) of this section. Reof the motion and must include a quests for appearances by representasigned statement certifying that a tives alone to personally present argucopy of the response and any evidence ment to Members of the Board may be was sent by first-class mail, postage granted if good cause is shown. Whethprepaid, to the claimant or appellant, er good cause has been shown will be setting forth the address to which the determined by the presiding Member copy was mailed. Factors considered in assigned to conduct the hearing.

a Veterans Benefits Counselor of the Department of Veterans Affairs may present the appeal at a hearing before the Board of Veterans' Appeals. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105, 7107) (58 FR 27935, May 12, 1993]

8 20.702 Rule 702. Scheduling and no

tice of hearings conducted by the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington, DC. (a) General. To the extent that officials scheduling hearings for the Board of Veterans' Appeals determine that necessary physical resources and qualified personnel are available, hearings will be scheduled at the convenience of appellants and their representatives, with consideration of the travel distance involved. While a Statement of the Case should be prepared prior to the hearing, it is not a prerequisite for a hearing and an appellant may request that the hearing be scheduled prior to issuance of the Statement of the Case.

(c) Nonadversarial proceedings. Hearings conducted by the Board are ex parte in nature and nonadversarial. Parties to the hearing will be permitted to ask questions, including follow-up questions, of all witnesses but cross-examination will not be permitted. Proceedings will not be limited by legal rules of evidence, but reasonable bounds of relevancy and materiality will be maintained. The presiding Member may set reasonable time limits for the presentation of argument and may exclude documentary evidence, testimony, and/or argument which is not relevant or material to the issue, or issues, being considered or which is unduly repetitious.

(d) Informal hearings. This term is used to describe situations in which the appellant cannot, or does not wish to, appear. In the absence of the appellant, the authorized representative may present oral arguments, not exceeding 30 minutes in length, to the Board on an audio cassette without personally appearing before the Board of Veterans Appeals. These arguments will be transcribed by Board personnel for subsequent review by the Member or Members to whom the appeal has been assigned for a determination. This procedure will not be construed to satisfy an appellant's request to appear in person.

(e) Electronic hearings. When suitable facilities and equipment are available, an appellant may be scheduled for an electronic hearing. Any such hearing will be in lieu of a hearing held by personally appearing before a Member or panel of Members of the Board and shall be conducted in the same manner as, and considered the equivalent of, such a hearing. If an appellant declines to participate in an electronic hearing, the appellant's opportunity to participate in a hearing before the Board shall not be affected. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107) (57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 58 FR 27935, May 12, 1993; 61 FR 20450, May 7, 1996)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107)

(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.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107)

(c) Requests for changes in hearing dates. (1) The appellant or the representative may request a different date for the hearing within 60 days from the date of the letter of notification of the time and place of the hearing, or not later than two weeks prior to the scheduled hearing date, whichever is earlier. The request must be in writing, but the grounds for the request need not be stated. Only one such request for a change of the date of the hearing will be granted, subject to the interests of other parties if a simultaneously contested claim is involved. In the case of hearings to be conducted by the Board of Veterans' Appeals in Washington, DC, such requests for a new hearing date must be filed with: Director, Management and Administration (01E), Board of Veterans' Appeals,

$ 20.701 Rule 701. Who may present

oral argument. Only the appellant and/or his or her authorized representative may appear and present argument in support of an appeal. At the request of an appellant,

810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, the failure to appear arose under such DC 20420.

circumstances that a timely request (2) After the period described in para for postponement could not have been graph (c)(1) of this section has passed, submitted prior to the scheduled hearor after one change in the hearing date ing date. A motion for a new hearing is granted based on a request received

date following a failure to appear must during such period, the date of the

be in writing; must be submitted not

be in writing n hearing will become fixed. After a more than 15 days following the origihearing date has become fixed, an ex- nal hearing date and must set forth tension of time for appearance at a

the reason, or reasons, for the failure hearing will be granted only for good

to appear at the originally scheduled cause, with due consideration of the in

hearing and the reason, or reasons, why terests of other parties if a simulta

a timely request for postponement neously contested claim is involved.

could not have been submitted. In the Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, illness of the appel

case of hearings to be conducted by the

Board of Veterans' Appeals in Washlant and/or representative, difficulty in obtaining necessary records, and un

ington, DC, the motion must be filed availability of a necessary witness. The

with: Director, Management and Admotion for a new hearing date must be

ministration (01E), Board of Veterans' in writing and must explain why a new

Appeals, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., hearing date is necessary. If good cause

Washington, DC 20420. If good cause is is shown, the hearing will be resched

shown, the hearing will be rescheduled uled for the next available hearing date

for the next available hearing date after the appellant or his or her rep

after the appellant or his or her representative gives notice that the con resentative gives notice that the contingency which gave rise to the request tingency which gave rise to the failure for postponement has been removed. to appear has been removed. OrdiOrdinarily, however, hearings will not narily, however, hearings will not be be postponed more than 30 days. In the postponed more than 30 days. In the case of a hearing conducted by the case of hearings before the Board of Board of Veterans' Appeals in Wash- Veterans' Appeals in Washington, DC, ington, DC, whether good cause for es- whether good cause for such failure to tablishing a new hearing date has been appear has been established will be deshown will be determined by the pre- termined by the presiding Member assiding Member assigned to conduct the signed to conduct the hearing. hearing. In the case of hearings to be conducted by the Board of Veterans' (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7105A, 7107) Appeals in Washington, DC, the motion for a new hearing date must be filed

(e) Withdrawal of hearing requests. A with: Director, Management and Ad

request for a hearing may be with

drawn by an appellant at any time beministration (01E), Board of Veterans' Appeals, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW.,

fore the date of the hearing. A request Washington, DC 20420.

for a hearing may not be withdrawn by

an appellant's representative without (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7105A, 7107)

the consent of the appellant. In the

case of hearings to be conducted by the (d) Failure to appear for a scheduled

Board of Veterans' Appeals in Washhearing. If an appellant (or when a

ington, DC, the notice of withdrawal hearing only for oral argument by a

must be sent to: Director, Management representative has been authorized, the

and Administration (01E), Board of representative) fails to appear for a

Veterans' Appeals, 810 Vermont Avescheduled hearing and a request for

nue, NW., Washington, DC 20420. postponement has not been received and granted, the case will be processed

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107) as though the request for a hearing had been withdrawn. No further request for (Approved by the Office of Management and a hearing will be granted in the same

Budget under control number 2900–0085) appeal unless such failure to appear [57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 58 FR was with good cause and the cause for 27935, May 12, 1993; 61 FR 20450, May 7, 1996] 8 20.703 Rule 703. When a hearing be clude, but are not limited to, illness of

fore the Board of Veterans' Appeals the appellant and/or representative, at a Department of Veterans Affairs difficulty in obtaining necessary

field facility may be requested. records, and unavailability of a necAn appellant, or an appellant's rep essary witness. If good cause is shown, resentative, may request a hearing be the hearing will be rescheduled for the fore the Board of Veterans' Appeals at next available hearing date after the a Department of Veterans Affairs field appellant or his or her representative facility when submitting the sub gives notice that the contingency stantive appeal (VA Form 9) or any which gave rise to the request for posttime thereafter, subject to the restric ponement has been removed. If good tions in Rule 1304 (20.1304 of this part). cause is not shown, the appellant and Requests for such hearings before a his or her representative will be substantive appeal has been filed will promptly notified and given an opporbe rejected.

tunity to appear at the hearing as pre

viously scheduled. If the appellant (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(a), 7107)

elects not to appear at the (61 FR 43009, Aug. 20, 1996]

prescheduled date, the request for a

hearing will be considered to have been 8 20.704 Rule 704. Scheduling and no withdrawn. In such cases, however, the

tice of hearings conducted by the record will be submitted for review by Board of Veterans' Appeals at De the Member who would have presided partment of Veterans Affairs field

over the hearing. If the presiding Memfacilities.

ber determines that good cause has (a) General. Hearings are conducted been shown, the hearing will be reby a Member or Members of the Board scheduled for the next available hearof Veterans Appeals during ing date after the contingency which prescheduled visits to Department of gave rise to the request for postponeVeterans Affairs facilities having ade ment has been removed. quate physical resources and personnel (d) Failure to appear for a scheduled for the support of such hearings. Sub- hearing. If an appellant (or when a ject to paragraph (f) of this section, the hearing only for oral argument by a hearings will be scheduled in the order representative has been authorized, the specified in § 19.75 of this chapter. Re representative) fails to appear for a quests for such hearings must be sub scheduled hearing and a request for mitted to the agency of original juris postponement has not been received diction, in writing, and should not be and granted, the case will be processed submitted directly to the Board of Vet as though the request for a hearing had erans' Appeals.

been withdrawn. No further request for (b) Notification of hearing. When a a hearing will be granted in the same hearing is scheduled, the person re appeal unless such failure to appear questing it will be notified of its time was with good cause and the cause for and place, and of the fact that the Gov the failure to appear arose under such ernment may not assume any expense circumstances that a timely request incurred by the appellant, the rep- for postponement could not have been resentative or witnesses attending the submitted prior to the scheduled hearhearing.

ing date. A motion for a new hearing (c) Requests for changes in hearing date following a failure to appear for a dates. Requests for a change in a hear scheduled hearing must be in writing, ing date may be made at any time up must be filed within 15 days of the to two weeks prior to the scheduled originally scheduled hearing date, and date of the hearing if good cause is must explain why the appellant failed shown. Such requests must be in writ to appear for the hearing and why a ing, must explain why a new hearing timely request for a new hearing date date is necessary, and must be filed could not have been submitted. Such with the office of the official of the De motions must be filed with: Director, partment of Veterans Affairs who Management and Administration (01E), signed the notice of the original hear- Board of Veterans' Appeals, 810 ing date. Examples of good cause in- Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC

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