Section 11: Adjudicatory proceedings; additional requirements
Section 11. In addition to other requirements imposed by law and subject to the provisions of section ten, agencies shall conduct adjudicatory proceedings in compliance with the following requirements:?
(1) Reasonable notice of the hearing shall be accorded all parties and shall include statements of the time and place of the hearing. Parties shall have sufficient notice of the issues involved to afford them reasonable opportunity to prepare and present evidence and argument. If the issues cannot be fully stated in advance of the hearing, they shall be fully stated as soon as practicable. In all cases of delayed statement, or where subsequent amendment of the issues is necessary, sufficient time shall be allowed after full statement or amendment to afford all parties reasonable opportunity to prepare and present evidence and argument respecting the issues.
(2) Unless otherwise provided by any law, agencies need not observe the rules of evidence observed by courts, but shall observe the rules of privilege recognized by law. Evidence may be admitted and given probative effect only if it is the kind of evidence on which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs. Agencies may exclude unduly repetitious evidence, whether offered on direct examination or cross-examination of witnesses.
(3) Every party shall have the right to call and examine witnesses, to introduce exhibits, to cross-examine witnesses who testify, and to submit rebuttal evidence.
(4) All evidence, including any records, investigation reports, and documents in the possession of the agency of which it desires to avail itself as evidence in making a decision, shall be offered and made a part of the record in the proceeding, and no other factual information or evidence shall be considered, except as provided in paragraph (5) of this section. Documentary evidence may be received in evidence in the form of copies or excerpts, or by incorporation by reference.
(5) Agencies may take notice of any fact which may be judicially noticed by the courts, and in addition, may take notice of general, technical or scientific facts within their specialized knowledge. Parties shall be notified of the material so noticed, and they shall be afforded an opportunity to contest the facts so noticed. Agencies may utilize their experience, technical competence, and specialized knowledge in the evaluation of the evidence presented to them.
(6) Agencies shall make available an official record, which shall include testimony and exhibits, and which may be in narrative form, but the agency need not arrange to transcribe shorthand notes or sound recordings unless requested by a party. If so requested, the agency may, unless otherwise provided by any law, require the party to pay the reasonable costs of the transcript before the agency makes the transcript available to the party.
(7) If a majority of the officials of the agency who are to render the final decision have neither heard nor read the evidence, such decision, if adverse to any party other than the agency, shall be made only after (a) a tentative or proposed decision is delivered or mailed to the parties containing a statement of reasons and including determination of each issue of fact or law necessary to the tentative or proposed decision; and (b) an opportunity is afforded each party adversely affected to file objections and to present argument, either orally or in writing as the agency may order, to a majority of the officials who are to render the final decision. The agency may by regulation provide that, unless parties make written request in advance for the tentative or proposed decision, the agency shall not be bound to comply with the procedures of this paragraph.
(8) Every agency decision shall be in writing or stated in the record. The decision shall be accompanied by a statement of reasons for the decision, including determination of each issue of fact or law necessary to the decision, unless the General Laws provide that the agency need not prepare such statement in the absence of a timely request to do so. Parties to the proceeding shall be notified in person or by mail of the decision; of their rights to review or appeal the decision within the agency or before the courts, as the case may be; and of the time limits on their rights to review or appeal. A copy of the decision and of the statement of reasons, if prepared, shall be delivered or mailed upon request to each party and to his attorney of record.