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e-CFR data is current as of October 27, 2020

Title 17Chapter IIPart 201 → Subpart B


Title 17: Commodity and Securities Exchanges
PART 201—RULES OF PRACTICE


Subpart B—Regulations Pertaining to the Equal Access to Justice Act


Contents
§201.31   Purpose of these rules.
§201.32   When the Act applies.
§201.33   Proceedings covered.
§201.34   Eligibility of applicants.
§201.35   Standards for awards.
§201.36   Allowable fees and expenses.
§201.37   Delegations of authority.
§201.41   Contents of application.
§201.42   Net worth exhibit.
§201.43   Documentation of fees and expenses.
§201.44   When an application may be filed.
§201.51   Filing and service of documents.
§201.52   Answer to application.
§201.53   Reply.
§201.54   Settlement.
§201.55   Further proceedings.
§201.56   Decision.
§201.57   Commission review.
§201.58   Judicial review.
§201.59   Payment of award.
§201.60   [Reserved]

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§201.31   Purpose of these rules.

The Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. 504 (called the Act in this subpart B), provides for the award of attorney fees and other expenses to eligible individuals and entities who are parties to certain administrative proceedings (called adversary adjudications) before the Commission. An eligible party may receive an award when it prevails over the Commission, unless the Commission's position was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust. The rules in this subpart describe the parties eligible for awards and the proceedings that are covered. They also explain how to apply for awards, and the procedures and standards that the Commission will use in ruling on those applications.

[54 FR 53051, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.32   When the Act applies.

The Act applies to adversary adjudications described in §201.33 pending or commenced before the Commission on or after August 5, 1985. It also applies to any adversary adjudication commenced on or after October 1, 1984, and finally disposed of before August 5, 1985, provided that an application for fees and expenses, as described in these rules, has been filed with the Commission within 30 days after August 5, 1985. Proceedings which have been substantially concluded are not deemed pending under these rules although officially pending for purposes such as concluding remedial actions found in Commission orders or private undertakings.

[54 FR 53051, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.33   Proceedings covered.

(a) The Act applies to adversary adjudications conducted by the Commission. These are on the record adjudications under 5 U.S.C. 554 in which the position of an Office or Division of the Commission as a party, not including amicus participation, is presented by an attorney or other representative who enters an appearance and participates in the proceeding. See appendix, 17 CFR 201.60.

(b) The fact that the Commission has not identified a type of proceeding as an adversary adjudication shall not preclude the filing of an application by a party who believes the proceeding is covered by the Act; whether the proceeding is covered will then be an issue for resolution in proceedings on the application.

(c) If a proceeding includes both matters covered by the Act and matters specifically excluded from coverage, any award made will include only fees and expenses related to covered issues.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 53051, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.34   Eligibility of applicants.

(a) To be eligible for an award of attorney fees and other expenses under the Act, the applicant must be a party to the adversary adjudication for which it seeks it seeks an award. The term party is defined in 5 U.S.C. 551(3). The applicant must show that it meets all conditions of eligibility set out in this subpart.

(b) The types of eligible applicants are as follows:

(1) An individual with a net worth of not more than $2 million;

(2) The sole owner of an unincorporated business who has a net worth of not more than $7 million, including both personal and business interests, and not more than 500 employees;

(3) A charitable or other tax-exempt organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) with not more than 500 employees;

(4) A cooperative association as defined in section 15(a) of the Agricultural Marketing Act (12 U.S.C. 1141j(a)) with more than 500 employees; and

(5) Any other partnership, corporation, association, unit of local government, or public or private organization with a new worth of not more than $7 million and not more than 500 employees.

(c) For the purpose of eligibility, the net worth and number of employees of an applicant shall be determined as of the date the proceeding was initiated.

(d) An applicant who owns an unincorporated business will be considered as an individual rather than a sole owner of an unincorporated business if the issues on which the applicant prevails are related primarily to personal interests rather than to business interests.

(e) The employees of an applicant include all persons who regularly perform services for remuneration for the applicant, under the applicant's direction and control. Part-time employees shall be included on a proportional basis.

(f) The net worth and number of employees of the applicant and all of its affiliates shall be aggregated to determine eligibility. Any individual, corporation or other entity that directly or indirectly controls or owns a majority of the voting shares or other interest of the applicant, or any corporation or entity of which the applicant directly or indirectly owns or controls a majority of the voting shares or other interest, will be considered an affiliate for purposes of this subpart, unless the administrative law judge determines that such treatment would be unjust and contrary to the purposes of the Act in light of the actual relationship between the affiliated entities. In addition, the administrative law judge may determine that financial relationships of the applicant other than those described in this paragraph constitute special circumstances that would make an award unjust.

(g) An applicant that participates in a proceeding primarily on behalf of one or more other persons or entities that would be ineligible is not itself eligible for an award.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 53051, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.35   Standards for awards.

(a) A prevailing applicant may receive an award for fees and expenses incurred in connection with a proceeding or in a significant and discrete substantive portion of the proceeding, unless the position of the Office or Division over which the applicant has prevailed was substantially justified. The position of the Office or Division includes, in addition to the position taken by the Office or Division in the adversary adjudication, the action or failure to act by the Office or Division upon which the adversary adjudication is based. The burden of proof that an award should not be made to an eligible prevailing applicant is on counsel for an Office or Division of the Commission, which must show that its position was reasonable in law and fact.

(b) An award will be reduced or denied if the applicant has unduly or unreasonably protracted the proceeding or if special circumstances make the award sought unjust.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 53051, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.36   Allowable fees and expenses.

(a) Subject to the limitation of paragraph (b), awards will be based on rates customarily charged, in the locale of the hearing, by persons engaged in the business of acting as attorneys, agents and expert witnesses, even if the services were made available without charge or at a reduced rate to the applicant.

(b) No award of the fee of an attorney or agent under these rules may exceed $75.00 per hour. No award to compensate an expert witness may exceed the reasonable rate at which the Commission pays witnesses with similar expertise. However, an award may also include the reasonable expenses of the attorney, agent or witness as a separate item, if the attorney, agent or witness ordinarily charges clients separately for such expenses.

(c) In determining the reasonableness of the fee sought for an attorney, agent or expert witness, the administrative law judge shall consider the following:

(1) If the attorney, agent or witness is in private practice, his or her customary fee for similar services, or, if an employee of the applicant the fully allocated cost of the services;

(2) The prevailing rate for similar services in the community in which the attorney, agent or witness ordinarily performs services;

(3) The time actually spent in the representation of the applicant;

(4) The time reasonably spent in light of the difficulty or complexity of the issues in the proceeding; and

(5) Such other factors as may bear on the value of the services provided.

(d) The reasonable cost of any study, analysis, engineering report, test, project or similar matter prepared on behalf of a party may be awarded, to the extent that the charge for the service does not exceed the prevailing rate for similar services, and the study or other matter was necessary for preparation of the applicant's case.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 53051, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.37   Delegations of authority.

(a) The Commission may by order delegate authority to take final action on matters pertaining to the Equal Access to Justice Act in particular cases.

(b) Unless the Commission shall order otherwise, applications for awards of fees and expenses made pursuant to this subject shall be assigned by the Chief Administrative Law Judge to an administrative law judge for determination.

[54 FR 53051, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.41   Contents of application.

(a) An application for an award of fees and expenses under the Act shall identify the applicant, the proceeding for which an award is sought and contain the information required in this subpart. The application shall show that the applicant has prevailed and specify the position(s) of the opposing Office or Division in the proceeding that the applicant alleges was not substantially justified. Unless the applicant is an individual, the application shall also state the number of employees of the applicant and describe briefly the type and purpose of its organization or business.

(b) The application shall also include a statement that the applicant's net worth does not exceed $2 million (if an individual) or $7 million (for all other applicants, including their affiliates). However, an applicant may omit this statement if:

(1) It attaches a copy of a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service that it qualifies as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) or, in the case of a tax-exempt organization not required to obtain a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service on its exempt status, a statement that describes the basis for the applicant's belief that it qualifies under such section; or

(2) It states that it is a cooperative association as defined in section 15(a) of the Agricultural Marketing Act (12 U.S.C. 1141j(a)).

(c) The application shall state the amount of fees and expenses for which an award is sought.

(d) The application may also include any other matters that the applicant wishes the Commission to consider in determining whether and in what amount an award should be made.

(e) The application shall be signed by the applicant or an authorized officer or attorney of the applicant. It shall also contain or be accompanied by a written verification under oath or under penalty of perjury that the information provided in the application is true and correct.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 53051, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.42   Net worth exhibit.

(a) Each applicant, except a qualified tax-exempt organization or cooperative association, must provide with its application a detailed exhibit showing the net worth of the applicant and any affiliates (as defined in §201.34(f) of this part) when the proceeding was initiated. The exhibit may be in any form convenient to the applicant that provides full disclosure of the applicant's and its affiliates' assets and liabilities and is sufficient to determine whether the applicant qualifies under the standards in this subpart. The administrative law judge or the Commission may require an applicant to file additional information to determine its eligibility for an award.

(b) Ordinarily, the net worth exhibit will be included in the public record of the proceeding. However, an applicant that objects to public disclosure of information in any portion of the exhibit and believes there are legal grounds for withholding it from disclosure may submit that exhibit in accordance with 17 CFR 201.190.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 60 FR 32795, June 23, 1995]

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§201.43   Documentation of fees and expenses.

The application shall be accompanied by full documentation of the fees and expenses, including the cost of any study, analysis, engineering report, test, project or similar matter, for which an award is sought. A separate itemized statement shall be submitted for each professional firm or individual whose services are covered by the application, showing the hours spent in connection with the proceeding by each individual, a description of the specific services performed, the rate at which each fee has been computed, any expenses for which reimbursement is sought, the total amount claimed, and the total amount paid or payable by the applicant or by any other person or entity for the services provided. The applicant may be required to provide vouchers, receipts, or other substantiation for any fees or expenses claimed.

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§201.44   When an application may be filed.

(a) An application may be filed whenever the applicant has prevailed in the proceeding or in a significant and discrete substantive portion of the proceeding, but in no case later than 30 days after the Commission's final disposition of the proceeding.

(b) For purposes of this rule, final disposition means the date on which a decision or order disposing of the merits of the proceeding or any other complete resolution of the proceeding, such as a settlement or voluntary dismissal, becomes final and unappealable, both within the Commission and to the courts.

(c) If review or reconsideration is sought or taken of a decision as to which an applicant believes it has prevailed, proceedings for the award of fees shall be stayed pending final disposition of the underlying controversy.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 53052, Dec. 27, 1989]

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§201.51   Filing and service of documents.

Any application for an award or other document related to an application shall be filed and served in the same manner as other papers in proceedings under the Commission's Rules of Practice. In addition, a copy of each application for fees and expenses shall be served on the General Counsel of the Commission.

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§201.52   Answer to application.

(a) Within 30 days after service of an application, counsel representing the Office or Division of the Commission may file an answer to the application. Unless the Office or Division of the Commission counsel requests an extension of time for filing or files a statement of intent to negotiate under paragraph (b) of this section, failure to file an answer within the 30-day period may be treated as a consent to the award requested.

(b) If counsel for the Office or Division of the Commission and the applicant believe that the issues in the fee application can be settled, they may jointly file a statement of their intent to negotiate a settlement. The filing of this statement shall extend the time for filing an answer for an additional 30 days, and further extensions may be granted upon request by agency counsel and the applicant.

(c) The answer shall explain any objections to the award requested and identify the facts relied on in support of that position. If the answer is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, it shall include supporting affidavits or a request for further proceedings under §201.55.

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§201.53   Reply.

Within 15 days after service of an answer, the applicant may file a reply. If the reply is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, the applicant shall include with the reply either supporting affidavits or a request for further proceedings under §201.55.

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§201.54   Settlement.

The applicant and counsel for the Office or Division of the Commission may agree on a proposed settlement of the award before final action on the application, either in connection with a settlement of the underlying proceeding or after the underlying proceeding has been concluded, in accordance with the Commission's standard settlement procedure. See 17 CFR 201.240. If a prevailing party and counsel for the Office or Division of the Commission agree on a proposed settlement of an award before an application has been filed, the application shall be filed with the proposed settlement. If a proposed settlement provides that each side shall bear its own expenses, and the settlement is accepted, no application may be filed.

[54 FR 53052, Dec. 27, 1989, as amended at 60 FR 32795, June 23, 1995]

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§201.55   Further proceedings.

(a) Ordinarily, the determination of an award will be made on the basis of the written record. However, on request of either the applicant or counsel for the Office or Division of the Commission, or on his or her own initiative, the administrative law judge may order further proceedings, such as an informal conference, oral argument, additional written submissions or, as to issues other than substantial justification (such as the applicant's eligibility or substantiation of fees and expenses) an evidentiary hearing. The administrative law judge may order all proceedings that are otherwise available under §201.221 and §201.222(a). Such further proceedings shall be held only when necessary for full and fair resolution of the issues arising from the application, and shall be conducted as promptly as possible. Whether or not the Commission's position was substantially justified shall be determined on the basis of the administrative record, as a whole, which is made in the adversary adjudication for which fees and other expenses are sought.

(b) A request for further proceedings under this section shall specifically identify the information sought or the disputed issues and shall explain why the additional proceedings are necessary to resolve the issues.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 53052, Dec. 27, 1989; 70 FR 72569, Dec. 5, 2005]

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§201.56   Decision.

The administrative law judge shall issue an initial decision on the application promptly after completion of proceedings on the application. The decision shall include written findings and conclusions on the applicant's eligibility and status as a prevailing party, and an explanation of the reasons for any difference between the amount requested and the amount awarded. The decision shall also include, if at issue, findings on whether the Commission's position was substantially justified, whether the applicant unduly protracted the proceedings, or whether special circumstances make an award unjust.

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§201.57   Commission review.

In accordance with the procedures set forth in 17 CFR 201.410 and 201.411, either the applicant or counsel for the Office or Division of the Commission may seek review of the initial decision on the fee application, or the Commission may decide to review the decision on its own initiative. If neither the applicant nor counsel for the Division or Office of the Commission seeks review and the Commission does not take review on its own initiative, the initial decision on the application shall become a final decision of the Commission 30 days after it is issued. Whether to review a decision is a matter within the discretion of the Commission. If review is taken, the Commission will issue a final decision on the application or remand the application to the administrative law judge for further proceedings.

[47 FR 610, Jan. 6, 1982, as amended at 60 FR 32795, June 23, 1995]

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§201.58   Judicial review.

Judicial review of final Commission decisions on awards may be sought as provided in 5 U.S.C. 504(c)(2).

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§201.59   Payment of award.

An applicant seeking payment of an award shall submit to the Chief Financial Officer of the Commission a copy of the Commission's final decision granting the award, accompanied by a sworn statement that the applicant will not seek review of the decision in the United States courts. The Commission will pay the amount awarded to the applicant as authorized by law, unless judicial review of the award has been sought by the applicant.

[54 FR 53052, Dec. 27, 1989, as amended at 76 FR 60372, Sept. 29, 2011]

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§201.60   [Reserved]

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