I-4-6-5.Special Procedures for Time-Limited Remands

Last Update: 08/22/16 (Transmittal I-4-56)

A. General

In rare cases, courts issue remand orders that include a deadline for completing all or part of the remand proceedings. The most common action(s) that courts require us to complete within a specified time are: institute proceedings, schedule a hearing, hold a hearing, issue a final decision, complete the record (e.g., reconstruct the file), and/or advise the court of the processing status.

It is essential that the Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) coordinate time-limited remand processing both with the Office of Hearings Operations components and with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC). Failure to meet a court-imposed time limit can result in sanctions being imposed by the court, including finding the Commissioner in contempt of court. The procedures outlined below are designed to ensure that time limits are met or that a request for an extension of time is made promptly when the action specified by the court cannot be completed by the due date.

After a court has set a deadline in a case, the case will continue to be treated as a time-limited remand at both the hearing and Appeals Council levels, even after the original time limit has been met. This ensures that any case which a court has designated as needing priority handling will continue to receive expedited treatment throughout its processing.

B. Support Staff Procedures for Incoming Time-Limited Remands

The general procedures for processing remand orders outlined in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-4-6-10 also apply to time-limited remands. In addition, the support staff will:

  • Indicate in the Appeals Review Processing System that the remand is time-limited,

  • Ensure that a time-limited remand is assigned to an analyst within 24 hours of receipt in the branch, and

  • Alert the analyst that a time limit is involved.

The Operations Supervisors of each Court Case Preparation and Review Branch (CCPRB) will keep a listing of all time-limited remands the branch receives and prepare a biweekly report on them. When a support staff receives a time-limited remand order, an extra copy will be made and given to the Operations Supervisor. Details concerning preparation of the time limit report are contained in HALLEX I-4-6-6. The Operations Supervisor retains the time-limited remand report for inspection by the CCPRB Chief upon request.

C. Analyst Procedures

The analyst will review each time-limited order to determine if the deadline which the court set has already passed or if it will occur within 14 days of the date OAO releases the remand to the Hearing Office (HO). If either of these situations exists, the analyst will request the OGC headquarters staff attorney or the Regional Counsel attorney to seek an extension of time from the court. When the analyst completes the case action on a time-limited remand order and the case is ready for release, the analyst will telephone the HO and inform the supervisory staff attorney, or the Hearing Office Director (HOD), if there is no supervisory staff attorney in that office, that a time-limited remand order is being forwarded to the HO. The analyst will give the case to a support staff for priority release.

D. Releasing a Time-Limited Remand Order

The general procedures for releasing remand orders outlined in HALLEX I-4-6-40 also apply to time-limited remand orders, except that the support staff will release the case immediately. If the expiration of the time limit is within 90 days and the claim(s) file is paper, the support staff will mail the claim(s) file or certified administrative record via the designated express mail service.