(1) Hearings shall be conducted informally, and in such manner as to ascertain the substantial rights of the parties. All issues relevant to an appeal shall be considered and passed upon. Any interested party, his witness or witnesses, under oath, or affirmation, may present such evidence as may be pertinent, subject to examination by any member of the board and to cross-examination by any opposing interested parties or representative.
(2) The parties to an appeal may stipulate the facts involved orally or in writing. Such stipulation shall be approved by the board. Further hearing to take additional evidence shall be ordered, upon notice as set out in these rules, if such stipulation is found inadequate for the determination of the case.
(3) If any party to any appeal fails to appear at the board hearing and no good cause for continuance is shown, the board shall render its decision on the basis of the best evidence available to it; provided, however, a hearing before the board may be continued for good cause upon application to the board orally or in writing before the hearing is concluded, and may be continued or reopened by the board on application or on its own motion. Any party who fails to appear in person or by authorized representative at a hearing before the board may, within ten (10) days after the scheduled date of the hearing, file an application for reopening, and such application for reopening shall be granted if good cause is shown for failing to appear. An application for reopening must be in writing; it must state the reason(s) believed to constitute good cause for failing to appear at the hearing; and it must be delivered or mailed within such ten (10) day period to the board at either the local office where the appeal was filed or to the central office of the department, Employment Security Building, corner of Lockey and Roberts Streets, P.O. Box 1728, Helena, Montana, 59601. If an application for reopening is not allowed, a copy of such decision shall be given or mailed to each party to the appeal, and in the reopening proceedings the allowance of the application may be contested. Where it appears that an appeal, or application for leave to appeal
to the board, or an application for reopening, or any other request or application may not have been filed within the period of time prescribed for filing, the appellant or applicant (as the case may be) shall be notified and be given an opportunity to show that such appeal, application or request was timely. If it is found that such appeal, application or request was not filed within the applicable time limit, it may be dismissed on such grounds. If it is found that such appeal, application, or request was timely, the matter shall be decided on the merits. Copies of a decision under this provision shall be given or mailed to all interested parties, together with a clear statement of right of appeal or judicial review.
(4) The board may, in its discretion, adjourn any hearing for a reasonable period of time, in order to secure all the evidence that is necessary and to be fair to the parties.