(1) Any person appearing in a CSSD proceeding may, at the person's own expense, be accompanied, represented and advised by an attorney.
(a) To represent a party in a contested case, the attorney must be licensed to practice law in this state or be admitted pro hac vice.
(b) If the attorney files a notice of appearance or signs and files a request for hearing or other responsive pleading with the OALJ in that contested case action, the attorney shall be designated as the attorney of record and all further communication, mailings and notices made in that contested case action will be directed to the attorney. However, the OALJ will mail or deliver copies of all decisions and orders to both the party and the party's attorney. If there is no attorney of record, the OALJ, CSSD and other parties will make all communications directly to the party.
(c) An attorney of record may withdraw from a pending case, however the attorney shall give notice of the withdrawal to the OALJ, the CSSD and all other parties. Upon receipt of notice the OALJ, the CSSD and all other parties will redirect all subsequent communications to the party formerly represented by the attorney.
(d) Unless the attorney sooner withdraws and gives notice thereof, an attorney of record will continue as the attorney of record until the final decision and order is entered in the case.
(2) A party to a contested case may be accompanied, assisted and advised by a person who is not an attorney or who is an attorney not admitted to practice law in this state; however, that person may not represent the party during the hearing or give statements or make arguments on the party's behalf. The OALJ will direct all communications to the party.
(3) A party who chooses not to be represented by counsel and who represents himself or herself must substantially comply with the provisions of these rules. An ALJ may modify the strict application of these rules to an unrepresented party to the extent that strict application is not necessary to assure a fair hearing, and the modification does not affect the substantive rights of any other party.
(4) Through the use of pre-approved legal forms and written CSSD policies and procedures, and under the ultimate direction of and in consultation with a CSSD attorney, and consistent with rules 5.3 and 5.5 of the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct, a CSSD caseworker may initiate, appear in and participate in a contested case. A caseworker's assertion in a contested case notice is sufficient to constitute the caseworker's authority to participate in the case. When in a particular case a mailing, service, or other communication with the CSSD is required by these rules, the mailing, service, or other communication must be directed to the participating caseworker.
(5) At the discretion of the CSSD, a CSSD attorney may personally appear and taken an active role in a contested case at any phase of the proceedings. The CSSD attorney may also cease taking an active role at any time. When a CSSD attorney does appear in the case, the attorney will not need to file a notice of appearance or sign any pleading as provided in (1)(b). The CSSD attorney's appearance is sufficient to establish the attorney's authority to provide counsel and representation. When requested by a CSSD attorney appearing the case, all other parties shall direct all further communication, mailings and notices made in that case to the attorney.