The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 1001. Environmental Division
(a) The Environmental Division shall consist of two judges, each sitting alone.
(b) Two environmental judges shall be appointed to hear matters in the Environmental Division and to hear other matters in the Superior Court when so assigned by the administrative judge pursuant to subsection 21a(c) of this title.
(c) An environmental judge shall be an attorney admitted to practice before the Vermont Supreme Court. An environmental judge shall be nominated, appointed, confirmed, paid, and retained, and shall receive all benefits in the manner of a superior judge.
(d) An environmental judge shall be appointed on April 1, for a term of six years or the unexpired portion thereof.
(e) Evidentiary proceedings in the Environmental Division shall be held in the county in which all or a portion of the land which is the subject of the appeal is located or where the violation is alleged to have occurred, unless the parties agree to another location; provided, however, that the environmental judge shall offer expeditious evidentiary hearings so that no such proceedings are moved to another county to obtain an earlier hearing. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, all nonevidentiary hearings may be conducted by telephone or video conferencing using an audio or video record. If a party objects to a telephone hearing, the court may require a personal appearance for good cause.
(g) The Supreme Court may enact rules and develop procedures consistent with this chapter to govern the operation of the Environmental Division and proceedings in it. In adopting these rules, the Supreme Court shall ensure that the rules provide for:
(1) expeditious proceedings that give due consideration to the needs of pro se litigants;
(2) the ability of the judge to hold pretrial conferences by telephone;
(3) the use of scheduling orders under the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure in order to limit discovery to that which is necessary for a full and fair determination of the proceeding; and
(4) the appropriate use of site visits by the presiding judge to assist the court in rendering a decision. (Added 1989, No. 98, § 2; amended 1991, No. 108, § 3; 1993, No. 92, § 14; 1993, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 39, eff. March 15, 1995; 1995, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 2001, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 73, eff. June 27, 2002; 2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. Jan. 31, 2005; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 53.)
§ 1002. Conduct of hearings
Hearings before the Environmental Division shall be conducted in an impartial manner subject to rules of the Supreme Court providing for a summary, expedited proceeding. (Added 1989, No. 98, § 2; amended 1993, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 38, eff. March 15, 1995; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 53a.)
§ 1003. Evidence
(a) Irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded. The Vermont Rules of Evidence shall be followed, except that evidence not admissible under the Rules of Evidence may be admitted if it is of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. Objections to evidentiary offers may be made and shall be noted in the record. Subject to these requirements, when a hearing will be expedited and the interests of the parties will not be prejudiced substantially, any part of the evidence may be received in written form. Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts, if the original is not readily available. Upon request, parties shall be given an opportunity to compare the copy with the original.
(b) Notice may be taken of judicially cognizable facts. In addition, notice may be taken of generally recognized technical or scientific facts within the agency's specialized knowledge. Parties shall be notified either before or during the hearing, or by reference in preliminary reports or otherwise, of the material noticed, including any staff memoranda or data, and they shall be afforded an opportunity to contest the material so noticed. (Added 1989, No. 98, § 2.)
§ 1004. Access to information
(a) In connection with any proceedings under 10 V.S.A. chapter 201, each party shall provide all other parties with all written statements and information in the possession, custody, or control of the party relative to the violation, including any technical studies, tests and reports, maps, architectural and engineering plans and specifications, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, and other data compilations from which information can be obtained, the names and addresses of the party's witnesses, and any other information which the Environmental Division deems necessary, in its sole discretion, to a fair and full determination of the proceeding.
(b) No other discovery or depositions, written interrogatories or requests to admit shall be permitted except that which is necessary for a full and fair determination of the proceeding. (Added 1989, No. 98, § 2; amended 1993, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 38, eff. March 15, 1995; 2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. Jan. 31, 2005; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 53b.)