SEC Issues Rule Proposal to Improve Timeliness of Administrative Proceedings and Appeals


Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2003 -- The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed amendments to its Rules of Practice to formalize new policies designed to improve the timeliness of administrative proceedings and appeals.

"Unnecessary delay in the administrative proceeding process has plagued the Commission for decades," SEC Chairman Harvey L. Pitt said. "I believe that these changes, when they are adopted, will reduce significantly the time required to complete an administrative proceeding. This will improve the efficacy of the process and the value of Commission opinions as a vehicle for providing guidance to securities professionals.

"At my request, Commissioner Roel C. Campos conducted an independent examination of current procedures and processes in this area," Pitt said. "His outstanding work was the basis for the proposed amendments."

The amendments were proposed by the Commission on Feb. 11, 2003.

"These proposed amendments reflect my personal experience as a federal prosecutor and my strong belief that legal proceedings, to be effective, must be timely completed," Commissioner Campos said. "In studying the Commission's processes, I spoke at length with attorneys, administrative law judges, and federal judges. I used current best practices in the federal courts as a model for these proposals."

The proposed amendments, if adopted, would, among other things, require administrative law judges to complete the hearing and issue an initial decision within a time period specified by the Commission for each case. In addition, the proposed amendments would reduce the current Rules of Practice guideline for issuance of Commission opinions from 11 months to seven months from the date of an appeal.

Comments on the proposed rule amendments should be received by the agency within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register.

* * * * *

The full text of the release will be posted to the SEC Web site as soon as possible.

Last modified: 2/12/2003