Allowance fees and expenses.
(a) Awards will be based on rates customarily charged by persons engaged in the business of acting as attorneys, agents, and expert witnesses, even if the services were made available without charge or at a reduced rate to the applicant.
(b) No award for the fee of an attorney or agent under this part may exceed $125 per hour, or such rate as prescribed by 5 U.S.C. 504. No award to compensate an expert witness may exceed the highest rate at which the agency pays expert witnesses. However, an award may also include the reasonable expenses of the attorney, agent, or witness as a separate item, if the attorney, agent, or witness ordinarily charges clients separately for such expenses.
(c) In determining the reasonableness of the fee sought for an attorney, agent, or expert witness, the ALJ or adjudicative officer shall consider the following:
(1) If the attorney, agent, or witness is in private practice, his or her customary fee for similar services, or if an employee of the applicant, the fully allocated cost of the services;
(2) The prevailing rate for similar services in the community in which the attorney, agent, or witness ordinarily performs services;
(3) The time actually spent in the representation of the applicant;
(4) The time reasonably spent in light of the difficulty or complexity of the issues in the proceeding; and
(5) Such other factors as may bear on the value of the services provided.
(d) The reasonable cost of any study, analysis, engineering report, test, project, or similar matter prepared on behalf of a party may be awarded, to the extent that the charge for the service does not exceed the prevailing rate for similar services, and the study or other matter was necessary for preparation of the applicant's case.
(e) Fees may be awarded only for work performed after the issuance of a complaint, or in the Default Adjudicative Process for a protest or contract dispute under part 17 of this chapter and the AMS.
[Amdt. 13-18, 53 FR 34655, Sept. 7, 1988, as amended by Amdt. 14-1, 55 FR 15131, Apr. 20, 1990; Amdt. 14-03, 64 FR 32935, June 18, 1999]