Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following represent questions frequently posed to the Office of Administrative Hearings. As you will see, we have provided brief answers. For further information, you should consult the Administrative Procedure Act, which is located in the State Government Article of the Maryland Annotated Code, §§10-201 to 10-226, the Rules of Procedure of the Office of Administrative Hearings, which are located in Title 28 of the Code of Maryland Regulations(COMAR 28.02.01), and any law specific to your hearing.

General

  1. What is an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)?
  2. What is an administrative hearing?
  3. Is there a fee for requesting a hearing and if so, may it be waived?
  4. Do I need an attorney or can I represent myself?
  5. If I need an interpreter, is one provided?
  6. Will the hearing be accessible to persons with disabilities?
  7. May I contact an ALJ to discuss my case?
  8. May the hearing be held by telephone or by video conference?
  9. May I settle my case without a hearing?
  10. How may I request a copy or a transcript of the recording of the hearing?

Pre-Hearing

  1. How do I prepare for my hearing?
  2. How do I subpoena witnesses and documents?
  3. Where and how do I file any pre-trial motions?
  4. How do I request a postponement?

Hearing

  1. May I bring a witness or documents?
  2. What may I expect at the hearing?
  3. What is the "burden of proof"?
  4. What happens if I fail to attend the hearing?

Post-Hearing

  1. When will a decision be issued?
  2. What may I Do if I disagree with the ALJ's decision?

 

General:

  1. What is an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)?

    An ALJ is an attorney appointed by the Chief ALJ to conduct administrative hearings. The ALJ is an employee of the OAH, not an employee of the agency involved in your case. There are approximately sixty ALJs employed by the OAH.

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  2. What is an administrative hearing?

    An administrative hearing is a fair, impartial and independent opportunity to be heard on the issue(s) in question. The ALJ assigned to hear your case determines facts, based on the evidence and argument presented at the hearing, reviews the relevant law, and issues a decision on the issues in question. Procedure at hearings is generally governed by the OAH Rules of Procedure at Code of Maryland Regulations ("COMAR") 28.02.01.

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  3. Is there a fee for requesting a hearing and if so, may it be waived?

    Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA)

    $50 filing fee for:

    • Cancellation of an Automobile Policy
    • Surcharge of 15% or greater for an Automobile Policy

    Department of Human Resources (DHR)

    $50 filing fee for:

    • Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry
    • Child Support Enforcement (Non-payment of Child Support)
      • State Tax intercept
      • Federal tax Intercept
      • Lottery Intercept
      • Credit Reporting
      • Driver's License Suspension
      • Business, Occupational and Professional License Suspension
      • Passport Revocation and Denial
      • Earnings Withholding
      • Health Insurance Withholding

    Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA)

    • There will be a $150 filing fee for all MVA hearings with the exception of Medical Advisory Board.

    The filing fee may be waived upon proof of indigency. Proof of indigency includes but is not limited to a copy of your Independence card or documentation which indicates that you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


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  4. Do I need an attorney or can I represent myself?

    An individual may represent him/herself in any administrative hearing and no individual is required to have an attorney. If you choose to be represented, in most cases that representative must be an attorney. Attorneys may help you better understand the law and how to present your case. In certain types of hearings however, you may be represented by someone who is not an attorney. These hearings include, but are not limited to, the following: a personnel hearing, in which a state employee may be represented by an employee of a union; and a hearing addressing issues regarding medical assistance, food stamps, temporary cash assistance, and other entitlement programs administered by the Department of Social Services. Maryland law generally provides that an attorney must represent a corporation appearing before the OAH.
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  5. If I need an interpreter, is one provided?

    If you need an interpreter, please contact the OAH docket specialist listed on your hearing notice as far in advance of the hearing or mediation as possible. You will not be charged for the interpreter’s fee.

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  6. Will the hearing be accessible to persons with disabilities?

    If you or your witnesses need special accommodations to be able to access OAH hearings, please contact the OAH Docket Specialist listed on your hearing notice as far in advance of the hearing as possible, and let us know what assistance you need so that access can be ensured.

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  7. May I contact an ALJ to discuss my case?

    No. If you have a matter that needs to be addressed by the ALJ prior to the hearing, such as a pending motion, please contact the docket specialist listed on your hearing notice to schedule a pre-hearing conference.

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  8. May the hearing be held by telephone or videoconference?

    If you would like all or part of your hearing conducted by telephone or videoconference, contact the docket specialist listed on your hearing notice. Please submit your request as far in advance of the hearing as possible and also notify the opposing party. The ALJ assigned to hear your case will make a ruling on your request.

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  9. May I settle my case without a hearing?

    The OAH encourages parties to settle their cases. It offers two methods of alternative dispute resolution. Participation in both is voluntary. An ALJ may be assigned to act as a settlement judge or as a mediator. As a settlement judge, the ALJ will assist the parties in settlement discussions, but will also give the parties a realistic assessment of their case. As a mediator, the ALJ will facilitate a discussion between the parties about ways to resolve their case without providing an assessment. If you would like the assistance of an ALJ for either form of dispute resolution, please contact the docket specialist listed on your hearing notice as far in advance of your hearing as possible. The ALJ assigned to help you with settlement discussions will not hear or discuss your case with the ALJ who is ultimately assigned to conduct the hearing. Your case will not be postponed because you are engaged in mediation or settlement discussions.

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  10. How may I request a transcript or a recording of the hearing?

    Either an audiotape or a transcript is made of every hearing. Please contact the Media Department at (410) 229-4272 for further information.

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Pre-Hearing:

  1. How do I prepare for my hearing?

    The hearing is your chance to tell the ALJ your side of the dispute. You should bring any witnesses or documents that you believe support your case. You will need the original and three copies of any documents you wish to use; one for you, one that may be referred to by a witness, one for the ALJ, and one for the other party.

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  2. How do I subpoena witnesses and documents?

    A request for a subpoena must be made in writing to the OAH at least ten days before the scheduled hearing. Each subpoena costs $5.00. If you wish to subpoena a person, you must include in your request the full name and full address of the person to be subpoenaed. If you wish to subpoena documents, such as books and/or papers, you must specifically describe those documents. For both kinds of subpoenas, you must include in your request your full name, address, and telephone number, and you must specify the method of service for the subpoena.

    Service of subpoenas may occur by:

    • Personal delivery by an individual 18 years old or older who is not a party to the proceeding. If you elect this method of service, you are responsible for arranging it.
    • Certified mail to the person at the address specified in the subpoena request. If you elect this method of service, you must pay for the cost of certified mail.
    • Regular mail, if mailed by the OAH.

    You should contact the docket specialist listed on your hearing notice to confirm the total cost of your request. Checks for the subpoena fees should be made payable to the "Maryland State Treasurer" and must accompany your request.


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  3. Where and how do I file any pre-trial motions?

    Pre-trial motions should be faxed or mailed to the docket specialist listed on your hearing notice. Motions should include your OAH case number, your name, address, and telephone number. You should send a copy of your motion to the other party(ies) at the same time you send it to the OAH.

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  4. How do I request a postponement?

    If you cannot attend your hearing, you must send a written request for postponement as soon as you know of the problem. You should send a copy of your motion to the other party(ies) at the same time you send it to the OAH. The request must establish good cause for your inability to attend the hearing. You must also provide supporting documentation. For example, if there is a health-related reason why you are unable to attend the hearing, you must provide a doctor's note confirming the reason. Similarly, if you have vacation plans, you must provide proof of your plans.

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Hearing:

  1. May I bring a witness or documents?

    The hearing is your chance to tell the ALJ your side of the dispute. You should bring any witnesses or documents that you believe support your case. You will need the original and three copies of any documents you wish to use; one for you, one that may be referred to by a witness, one for the ALJ, and one for the other party.

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  2. What may I expect at the hearing?

    At the beginning of the hearing, the presiding ALJ will generally give an introduction of the procedure that will be followed in the hearing. Each party may be permitted to present an opening statement and then witnesses may be called. Each party has the right to question his or her own witness. The opposing party then has the right to conduct cross-examination of that witness. Documents may be presented through witnesses. The ALJ will rule on the admissibility of evidence. After each party has presented witnesses, the party who bears the burden of proof may have the right to present rebuttal evidence. At the end of the hearing, each party may be permitted to present a closing argument.

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  3. What is the "burden of proof"?

    The "burden of proof" is the responsibility to prove a disputed charge or allegation. Typically the party bearing the burden of proof presents his or her case first. If the party bearing the burden of proof fails to carry that burden, that party may lose his or her case. The ALJ will establish who bears the burden of proof at the beginning of the hearing.

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  4. What happens if I fail to attend the hearing?

    If a party fails to attend the hearing, the ALJ may proceed with the hearing in the party's absence, or the ALJ may issue a default order against the absent party.

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Post-Hearing:

  1. When will a decision be issued?

    The law which is applicable to each case type specifies the time within which a decision will be issued. Typically, the ALJ will inform you of the time applicable to your case at the end of the hearing.

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  2. What may I do if I disagree with the ALJ's decision?

    The law which is applicable to each case type specifies the method of review of an ALJ's decision. An explanation of the review process applicable to your case is included in the decision.

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