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

Last Update: 6/26/23 (Transmittal I-4-96)

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 actions that courts require the agency to complete within a specified time involve the following: 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 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 deadline.

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 action(s) specified in the court order has been completed within the court-imposed time limit. This treatment ensures that any case that a court has designated as needing priority handling will continue to receive expedited treatment throughout its processing.

B. Processing 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, when processing a case involving a time-limited remand order, the court legal assistant 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 2 business days of notification from OGC, and

  • Alert the analyst that a time limit is involved.

C. 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, when processing a case involving a time-limited remand order, the court legal assistant will release the case immediately. After the court legal assistant releases the time-limited remand order, the court legal assistant will alert the branch chief. The branch chief will contact and notify the hearing office (HO) with jurisdiction that a time-limited remand order is being forwarded to the HO.