Office of Administrative Hearings

The Maryland Legislature created the independent Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) in 1990 to provide the public with a corp of Administrative Law Judges to decide appeals of administrative agency decisions. This action increased the fairness of administrative hearings by ensuring that the decision-maker presiding over an administrative hearing was not an employee of the same State agency that was involved in the dispute. Creating the OAH also saved the State of Maryland the substantial cost of maintaining individual administrative hearing units in each State agency.

The Maryland OAH employs approximately fifty-five Administrative Law Judges, each of whom was a seasoned lawyer prior to his or her appointment as an Administrative Law Judge. Administrative Law Judges preside over thousands of hearings a year and pride themselves on maintaining an outstanding record of issuing a decision in each case within ninety days or less. Each Administrative Law Judge travels around the State to provide Maryland residents, businesses and State agency personnel with an administrative hearing in as convenient a location as possible.

Maryland is one of twenty-seven States to establish a centralized panel of judges for the purpose of administrative adjudication. Maryland’s OAH handles cases arising from a larger variety of State agencies than any other central panel in the country and is one of the largest central panel agencies in the United States. Based on its lengthy history, size, and expertise in administrative law, other jurisdictions interested in creating a central panel frequently contact the Maryland OAH for advice on how to create a similar system.

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Division of State Documents

The Division is responsible for publishing the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) and its biweekly supplement, the Maryland Register.