An administrative hearing is a form of legal proceeding that gets handled outside of the court system. Generally speaking, they have less severity than civil or criminal trials.
However, they tend to work similarly to a court case, and generally involve hearings about disputes regarding government agencies. Matters typically covered relate to liquor licenses, unemployment, child support or public assistance.
Preparing for the hearing
WiseGeek discusses administrative hearings in detail. First, each party involved in the hearing will usually have the chance to present the story from their perspective. This includes presenting witnesses, conducting cross-examinations of other people’s witnesses, and providing evidence for rebuttal. They can also often make closing statements.
Thus, it is important to include all of this in the overall preparation for the case at hand. Case preparation should include gathering witnesses, preparing information for the case, looking over facts, double-checking statements and getting a closing statement ready.
Who will oversee the hearing?
A hearing examiner or administrative law judge (ALJ) will conduct the hearing. They cannot have personal involvement in the case and hold to a requirement by law to act as a neutral party.
This individual will act as both judge and jury, listening to the evidence and arguments provided by both parties. They will then give a recommended verdict to the government agency involved in the case. However, it is often the government agency rather than the ALJ who will hand down the final decision.
Though these cases have many structural similarities to a regular court case, they differ in enough ways that those involved should do careful research before diving in.