About the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)

  • Why Did the Legislature Create the Office of Administrative Hearings?

    From time to time government proposes or takes actions that people believe adversely affect them. When that happens, state law and local ordinances often require that the people who are affected have the opportunity to tell their side of the story at a hearing. A legal term that is often used to describe those kinds of hearings is administrative contested case proceedings.

    Before 1975 hearings held by state agencies were conducted by agency employees. After listening to the evidence, those employees would make recommendations to the heads of their agencies about what to do. Many felt that it was unfair to have agency employees conduct those hearings. So, in 1975 the legislature created the Office of Administrative Hearings (or OAH), an independent agency to conduct hearings for state agencies.

  • What Kind of Work Does OAH Do?

    Administrative law judges employed by OAH preside over three kinds of administrative proceedings:

    1. Hearings for state agencies that are required by law to provide hearings when proposing or taking actions that adversely affect people;
    2. The process that state agencies use for adopting rules. This insures that members of the public have a meaningful opportunity to participate in state rule making; and
    3. Hearings for local units of government on a variety of issues.

    Workers' compensation judges employed by OAH preside over two other kinds of administrative proceedings:

    1. Hearings to establish workers' compensation benefits; and
    2. Workers' compensation settlement conferences.

    Each year, OAH's administrative law judges and workers' compensation judge preside over several thousand hearings throughout the State of Minnesota. OAH has offices located in St. Paul, Duluth, and Detroit Lakes. Also, administrative law judges and workers' compensation judges travel to conduct hearings in many other communities throughout the state.