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54-57-03. Hearings before administrative law judges

1. Notwithstanding the authority granted in chapter 28-32 allowing agency heads or other persons to preside in an administrative proceeding, all adjudicative proceedings of administrative agencies under chapter 28-32, except those of the public service commission, the industrial commission, the insurance commissioner, the state engineer, the department of transportation, job service North Dakota, and the labor commissioner, must be conducted by the office of administrative hearings in accordance with the adjudicative proceedings provisions of chapter 28-32 and any rules adopted pursuant to chapter 28-32. But, appeals hearings pursuant to section 61-03-22 and drainage appeals from water resource boards to the state engineer pursuant to chapter 61-32 must be conducted by the office of administrative hearings. Additionally, hearings of the department of corrections and rehabilitation for the parole board in accordance with chapter 12-59, regarding parole violations; job discipline and dismissal appeals to the board of higher education; Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and section 504 due process hearings of the superintendent of public instruction; and chapter 37-19.1 veterans' preferences hearings for any agency must be conducted by the office of administrative hearings in accordance with applicable laws.
 
2. The agency head shall make a written request to the director requesting the designation of an administrative law judge to preside for each administrative proceeding or adjudicative proceeding to be held.
 
3. Informal disposition of an administrative proceeding or adjudicative proceeding may be made by an agency at any time before or after the designation of an administrative law judge from the office of administrative hearings.
 
4. If a party to an administrative proceeding or adjudicative proceeding is in default, the agency may issue a default order and a written notice of default, including a statement of the grounds for default, prior to the hearing. The agency shall determine all the issues involved. If issued, the default notice and order must be served upon all the parties and the administrative law judge, if one has been designated to preside. After service of the default notice and order, if a hearing is necessary to complete the administrative action with or without the participation of the party in default, an administrative law judge from the office of administrative hearings must preside.
 
5. When designating administrative law judges to preside in an administrative proceeding or adjudicative proceeding, the director shall attempt to assign an administrative law judge having expertise in the subject matter to be dealt with.
 
6. The director of administrative hearings may assign an administrative law judge to preside in an administrative proceeding or adjudicative proceeding, upon request, to any agency exempted from the provisions of this section, to any agency, or part of any agency, that is not an administrative agency subject to the provisions of chapter 28-32, to any unit of local government in this state, to any tribal government in this state, to the judicial branch, or to any agency to conduct a rulemaking hearing.