Maryland Landscape

About the Office of Administrative Hearings

Many of Marylandís government agencies regulate certain actions of businesses and citizens and some are involved in determining the rights of citizens. Marylandís businesses and citizens may not always agree with the actions taken by State government agencies. Maryland law, through the Administrative Procedure Act of the State Government Article, Maryland Annotated Code, provides that contested agency actions may be resolved through an impartial administrative hearing.

In 1990, the legislature created the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) in furtherance of the effort to centralize and professionalize the administrative hearing process of government agencies in the State of Maryland. Prior to the creation of the OAH, citizens and businesses dissatisfied with an action by an agency of the State government could contest that action before a hearing examiner, who was an employee of that agency. With the creation of the OAH, these citizens and businesses now may have their cases heard by Administrative Law Judges, who are independent of the agency whose action is being contested. Not only has the OAH centralized and improved the administrative hearing process, it has reduced the cost. The Administrative Law Judges of the OAH travel throughout the State of Maryland and conduct hearings for a wide variety of agencies and programs.

Maryland is one of 27 states to establish a centralized office for the purpose of administrative adjudication. Maryland's OAH is one of the largest central panel agencies in the country. States contemplating the establishment of a central panel view the OAH as a model and often contact or visit the OAH headquarters, located in Hunt Valley, Maryland, for guidance.