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(1) After determining that probable cause exists for the allegations in the complaint, the Commission, in its discretion, may cause to be issued and served a written notice of public hearing, requiring the parties to appear and state or respond to the charges of the complaint at a hearing before the Commission at a time and place to be specified in such notice. The Commission may designate one or more of its members to preside at such hearing.
(2) The case in support of the complaint shall be presented to the Commission by the complainant, the complainant's attorney or representative, or by the Commission's attorney. The Commission shall not be bound by the strict rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity. The testimony taken at the hearings shall be under oath and shall be transcribed.
(3) When a complaint contains one or more allegations under Section 9-1108 (relating to unlawful housing and real property practices) and notice of hearing is given as set forth in this Section, either party may elect to have the claims asserted in the complaint decided in a civil action in lieu of a public hearing before the Commission. A party making this election shall give written notice to the Commission and all other parties within twenty (20) days of receipt of notice of hearing under this Section. If an election for civil action is made by either party, the Commission shall, within thirty (30) days from the date of election, commence and maintain a civil action on behalf of the complainant in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Any aggrieved person with respect to the issues to be determined in a civil action under this subsection may intervene as of right in that civil action.