Administrative law judges must put their decisions or recommendations in writing. So on the day of the hearing the administrative law judge will not tell you the decision or recommendation. OAH will send you a copy of the written decision or recommendation as soon as it is ready. OAH's policy is that administrative law judges issue decisions or recommendations within 30 days after the hearing record closes, unless they have the Chief Administrative Law Judge's special permission to take longer. The hearing record closes when the hearing ends or, if the administrative law judge requests the parties to make written submissions, when OAH receives the last written submission.
There will normally be four parts to the administrative law judge's final report on your case. First, there will be findings of fact. There, the administrative law judge will spell out all of the facts established in your case. Second, the administrative law judge will describe the various legal conclusions that he or she has reached and how the law applies to the facts of your case. The conclusions will be followed by an order or recommendations. Finally, most reports of administrative law judges end with a memorandum that explains some of the reasoning behind the decision or recommendation.
The administrative law judge's report will contain an order if the administrative law judge has the legal authority to make a final decision in your type of case. However, the report will contain recommendations if the law requires the agency head to make the final decision in your type of case. If the agency head has the authority to make the final decision, the administrative law judge's recommendations are not binding, and the agency head may reject or modify them. The Notice of Hearing normally indicates whether the administrative law judge or the agency will make the final decision.
If the administrative law judge has the authority to make a final decision in your case, you may appeal the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals has its own rules that establish a number of important deadlines and other requirements that must be met in order for your appeal to be heard. You will be required to follow all of those rules even if you do not have a lawyer, and OAH cannot assist you in pursuing an appeal. Most people seek the advice and services of a lawyer when pursuing an appeal in the Court of Appeals. But that is your decision to make.
If the administrative law judge only has the authority to make recommendations to an agency head in your case, you may file formal objections with the agency person named in the report. Normally you will have at least ten days in which to do this, but the notice in the report will tell you about any deadlines that you will have to meet. After considering any objections, the agency head will make the final decision. You may appeal that decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals unless a specific statute provides for some other type of appeal.