Section 41. (a) Unless such application for review is withdrawn, the board of review shall make a preliminary examination of the record of the hearing afforded by the commissioner, along with the findings of fact and the decision, and shall, in its discretion, grant or deny the application for review. The board may appoint one or more examiners, selected in accordance with section nine K of chapter twenty-three, to conduct such preliminary examinations and recommend to the board either a grant or denial of the application for review. Such application for review must be granted or denied by the board no later than twenty-one days after an appeal is filed, and a copy of its decision shall be mailed to all parties. If the board does not render such a decision within such twenty-one day period, the application for review shall be deemed to be denied upon the twenty-first day.
(b) If a review is granted, the board shall inquire whether the commissioner's decision was founded on the evidence in the record and was free from any error of law affecting substantial rights. Before rendering its decision, the board may remand the case to the commissioner for taking of such additional evidence as the board deems necessary or may itself take evidence at a hearing. The conduct of such evidentiary hearings upon remand and before the board shall be in accordance with the procedures prescribed by and pursuant to subsection (b) of section thirty-nine. The board shall make every reasonable effort to issue a decision within forty-five days after granting an application for review. The board shall promptly give notice to the parties of its decision, together with the findings and reasons therefor, by mailing to each party at his last known address a copy of such decision and reasons. In lieu of mailing, such copy may be delivered. No member or representative of the board of review shall participate in any case in which he has an interest. Benefits shall be paid promptly or denied in accordance with the decision of the board. Unless action is taken under section forty-two, the decision of the board shall be final on all questions of fact and law.
(c) If the application for review is denied, the decision of the commissioner shall be deemed to be the decision of the board of review for the purpose of judicial review as provided in section forty-two, and shall be subject to judicial review within the time and in the manner provided for with respect to decisions by the board, except that the time limitations shall run from the date of mailing of the notice of the order of the board denying the application for review.
(d) In matters referred to it pursuant to subsection (d) of section thirty-nine, unless the request for hearing is withdrawn, the board of review shall afford the parties reasonable opportunity for fair hearing and shall affirm or modify the findings of fact and determinations of the commissioner or his authorized representative. Benefits shall be paid promptly or denied in accordance with the decision of the board.
(e) The manner in which evidentiary hearings are presented before the board of review, and the conduct of such hearings, shall be in accordance with regulations prescribed by the board for determining the rights of the parties. Such regulations prescribed by the board of review need not conform with common law or statutory rules of evidence and other technical rules of procedure provided that such regulations conform with the provisions of clauses (1) to (5), inclusive, of subsection (b) of section thirty-nine of this chapter and chapter thirty A.
A full and complete record shall be kept by the board of review of hearings held by said board. All testimony, records, investigatory reports and documents in the possession of the board shall be made part of the proceeding. Any recorded testimony need not be transcribed unless a party so requests it. The party requesting a transcript shall pay for the costs of transcription.