On June 18, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission eliminated the requirement in Rule 508 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.508, that paper copies be provided of all exhibits introduced as evidence in Commission trial-type evidentiary hearings. The final rule eliminating this requirement was issued as Order No. 811 in Docket RM15-5-000, Revised Exhibit Submission Requirements for Commission Hearings. The elimination of the paper copy requirement for exhibits is designed to facilitate a shift toward electronic hearing procedures, increase efficiency, reduce costs associated with providing paper exhibits and facilitate compilation and transmittal of the hearing record to the Commission in electronic format.
The revised rule is consistent with a recent policy of the Administrative Law Judges, see Notice to the Public, Procedures for Handling Exhibits and Developing the Electronic Hearing Record (issued December 12, 2014) (the Policy). This Policy provides that within seven days of the end of a hearing, participants must efile a “Joint Exhibit List” and each sponsoring part must efile “official Copies” of each exhibit offered into evidence. Rule 508 had required any participant seeking to admit an exhibit into evidence to provide one copy of the exhibit to the presiding officer and two copies to the reporter, not later than the time that the exhibit was marked for identification. Order No. 811 notes that the Policy renders unnecessary any requirement that paper copies of each exhibit be provided to the presiding judge and court reporter at the hearing.
As revised, the rule now provides:
385.508 Exhibits (Rule 508).
(a) General rules. (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section, any material offered in evidence, other than oral testimony, must be offered in the form of an exhibit. (2) The presiding officer will cause each exhibit offered by a participant to be marked for identification.
Order No. 811 will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.