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(a) General. At any time after the issuance of a complaint and prior to or during the reception of evidence in any proceeding, the parties may jointly 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 in the discretion of the Administrative Law Judge 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 shall also provide:
(b)(1) That the order shall have the same force and effect as an order made after full hearing;
(b)(2) That the entire record on which any order may be based shall consist solely of the complaint and the agreement;
(b)(3) That any further procedural steps are waived; and
(b)(4) That any right to challenge or contest the validity of the findings and order entered into in accordance with the agreement is waived.
(c) Submission. On or before the expiration of the time granted for negotiations, the parties or their counsel may:
(c)(1) Submit the proposed agreement to the Administrative Law Judge for his consideration;
(c)(2) Inform the Administrative Law Judge that agreement cannot be reached.
(d) Disposition. In the event an agreement containing consent findings and an order is submitted within the time allowed, the Administrative Law Judge, within 30 days, shall accept such agreement by issuing his decision based upon the agreed findings, and his decision shall constitute the final Administrative order.
[43 FR 49259, Oct. 20, 1978; 43 FR 51401, Nov. 3, 1978]