(a) In all contested proceedings the Commission, by prehearing conferences and in such other manner as it may deem expedient and in the public interest, shall encourage the parties and their counsel to make and enter stipulations of record for the following purposes:
(1) Eliminating the necessity of proof of all facts which may be admitted and the authenticity of documentary evidence,
(2) Facilitating the use of exhibits, and
(3) Clarifying the issues of fact and law.
The Commission may make informal disposition of any contested proceeding by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order or default.
(b) Unless otherwise provided in the Commission's rules of practice and procedure, such prehearing conferences may be ordered by the Commission or requested by any party to a proceeding in substantially the same manner, and with substantially the same subsequent procedure, as provided by law for the conduct of pretrial hearings in the superior court. (1949, c. 989, s. 1; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1.)