(b) Upon receipt of a request for hearing, the clerk shall place the claim upon the regular docket of the court for hearing, shall advise the attorney general and the claimant of the receipt of the request and docketing of the claim, and shall request the attorney general to commence negotiations with the claimant.
(c) During the period of negotiations and pending hearing, the attorney general, shall, if possible, reach an agreement with the claimant regarding the facts upon which the claim is based so as to avoid the necessity for the introduction of evidence at the hearing. If the parties are unable to agree upon the facts, an attempt shall be made to stipulate the questions of fact in issue.
(d) The hearing held in accordance with this section shall be before a single judge or commissioner to whom the claim has not been previously assigned. Hearings before a judge or commissioner may, in the discretion of such hearing officer, be held at such locations throughout the state as will facilitate the appearance of the claimant and witnesses.
(e) The hearing shall be conducted so as to disclose all material facts and issues. The judge or commissioner may examine or cross-examine witnesses. The judge and commissioner may call witnesses or require evidence not produced by the parties; may stipulate the questions to be argued by the parties; and may continue the hearing until some subsequent time to permit a more complete presentation of the claim.
(f) After the close of the hearing the judge or commissioner shall consider the claim and shall conclude his determination, if possible, within thirty days.
(g) The court shall adopt and may from time to time amend rules of procedure to govern proceedings before the court in accordance with the provisions of this article. The rules shall be designed to assure a simple, expeditious and inexpensive consideration of claims. The rules shall permit a claimant to appear in his own behalf or be represented by counsel and provide for interests of the state to be represented by the attorney general in any hearing under this section at no additional cost to the fund or the state.
Under its rules, the court shall not be bound by the usual common law or statutory rules of evidence. The court may accept and weigh, in accordance with its evidential value, any information that will assist the court in determining the factual basis of a claim.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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