In contested cases:
(1) The rules of evidence as applied in nonjury civil cases in the circuit courts of this state shall be followed. When necessary to ascertain facts not reasonably susceptible of proof under those rules, evidence not admissible thereunder may be admitted (except where precluded by statute) if it is of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. Agencies shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law. Except as hereinafter provided, objections to evidentiary offers may be made and shall be noted in the record. Whenever any evidence is excluded as inadmissible, all such evidence existing in written form shall remain a part of the record as an offer of proof. The party seeking the admission of oral testimony may make an offer of proof by means of a brief statement on the record describing the testimony excluded. All rulings on the admissibility of evidence shall be final and shall appear in the record. Subject to these requirements, when a hearing will be expedited and interests of the parties will not be prejudiced substantially, any part of the evidence may be received or may be required to be submitted in verified form; provided, the adversary party shall not be denied the right of cross-examination of the witness. The testimony of parties and witnesses shall be made under oath. Provided, however, in the hearing of a contested case where judicial review of the case is by trial de novo, the agency may announce that it shall not be necessary that objections be made during the hearing and upon such announcement, it shall not be required or necessary that objection to be made to any testimony or evidence which may be offered by either party, and on the consideration of such cases the agency shall consider only such testimony and evidence as is relevant, material, competent and legal, and shall not consider any testimony or evidence which is irrelevant, immaterial, incompetent or illegal, whether objection shall have been made thereto or not, and whether such testimony be brought out on direct, cross or re-direct examination, or is hearsay. The agency shall not be required to point out what testimony or evidence should be excluded or not considered. Either party, on submission, shall have the privilege of calling attention to any testimony or evidence which is deemed objectionable. If specific objection be made to any evidence and a ruling made thereon by the agency, this exception shall not apply to such evidence.
(2) Documentary evidence otherwise admissible may be received in the form of copies or excerpts, or by incorporation by reference to material already on file with the agency. Upon request, parties shall be given an opportunity to compare the copy with the original.
(3) A party may conduct cross-examination required for a full and true disclosure of the facts, except as may otherwise be limited by law.
(4) Official notice may be taken of all facts of which judicial notice may be taken and of other scientific and technical facts within the specialized knowledge of the agency. Parties shall be notified at the earliest practicable time, either before or during the hearing, or by reference in preliminary reports, preliminary decisions or otherwise, of the facts proposed to be noticed and their source, including any staff memoranda or data, and the parties shall be afforded an opportunity to contest such facts before the decision is announced unless the agency determines as part of the record or decision that fairness to the parties does not require an opportunity to contest such facts.
(5) The experience, technical competence, and specialized knowledge of the agency may be utilized in the evaluation of the evidence.
Last modified: May 3, 2021