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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of January 21, 2020

Title 45Subtitle ASubchapter APart 13Subpart A → §13.5


Title 45: Public Welfare
PART 13—IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT IN AGENCY PROCEEDINGS
Subpart A—General Provisions


§13.5   Standards for awards.

(a) An award of fees and expenses may be made either on the basis that the Department's position in the proceeding was not substantially justified or on the basis that, in a proceeding to enforce compliance with a statutory or regulatory requirement, the Department's demand substantially exceeded the ultimate decision and was unreasonable when compared with that decision. These two bases are explained in greater detail in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

(b) Awards where the Department's position was not substantially justified. (1) Awards will be made on this basis only where the Department's position in the proceeding was not substantially justified. The Department's position includes, in addition to the position taken by the agency in the proceeding, the agency action or failure to act that was the basis for the proceeding. Whether the Department's position was substantially justified is to be determined on the basis of the administrative record as a whole. The fact that a party has prevailed in a proceeding does not create a presumption that the Department's position was not substantially justified. The burden of proof as to substantial justification is on the agency's litigating party, which may avoid an award by showing that its position was reasonable in law and fact.

(2) When two or more matters are joined together for one hearing, each of which could have been heard separately (without regard to laws or rules fixing a jurisdictional minimum amount for claims), and an applicant has prevailed with respect to one or several of the matters, an eligible applicant may receive an award for expenses associated only with the matters on which it prevailed if the Department's position on those matters was not substantially justified.

(3) Awards for fees and expenses incurred before the date on which a proceeding was initiated will be made only if the applicant can demonstrate that they were reasonably incurred in preparation for the proceeding.

(4) Awards will be reduced or denied if the applicant has unduly or unreasonably protracted the proceeding or if other special circumstances make an award unjust.

(c) Awards where the Department's demand was substantially excessive and unreasonable. (1) Awards will be made on this basis only where the adversary adjudication arises from the Department's action to enforce a party's compliance with a statutory or regulatory requirement. An award may be made on this basis only if the Department's demand that led to the proceeding was substantially in excess of the ultimate decision in the proceeding, and that demand is unreasonable when compared with that decision, given all the facts and circumstances of the case.

(2) Any award made on this basis shall be limited to the fees and expenses that are primarily related to defending against the excessive nature of the demand. An award shall not include fees and expenses that are primarily related to defending against the merits of charges, or fees and expenses that are primarily related to defending against the portion of the demand that was not excessive, to the extent that these fees and expenses are distinguishable from the fees and expenses primarily related to defending against the excessive nature of the demand.

(3) Awards will be denied if the party has committed a willful violation of law or otherwise acted in bad faith, or if special circumstances make an award unjust.

[48 FR 45252, Oct. 4, 1983, as amended at 69 FR 2846, Jan. 21, 2004]

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