Preparing for the Contested Case Hearing

  • Will My Hearing Be Like a Trial?

    Your hearing will be similar to a court trial but without a jury. The administrative law judge will make a decision or recommendation based only on evidence that is formally presented by the parties at the hearing. That evidence will normally include witnesses who will give testimony under oath, and documents containing information that pertains to the case.

  • How Should I Prepare for the Hearing?

    In most cases, you should be prepared to give your own testimony to the administrative law judge after being placed under oath. You should bring anything with you that you will need to help you remember details while giving testimony, such as personal calendars, bills, receipts, notes, etc. If you testify at the hearing, the other party's lawyer has the right to cross-examine you - that is, to ask you questions under oath.

    If there are other people who have knowledge of important facts, you should arrange for them to be at the hearing so that they can appear as witnesses. As a party, you also can compel witnesses to come and testify at the hearing by serving them with subpoenas. If you need to obtain subpoenas, you should contact the receptionist at OAH (651/361-7900) and ask to speak to your administrative law judge's secretary. The secretary will help you arrange for subpoenas. You will be asked to provide the names and addresses of the persons you want to subpoena and briefly describe what information each person can provide. There is a $5.00 charge for each subpoena. Although OAH issues subpoenas, this Office cannot help you serve them on the witnesses. Subpoenas must be served in the same way as they are in state district court. You must arrange for someone else to serve the subpoenas, and you may have to pay a fee to have that done. And you will have to pay for the witnesses' mileage and any attendance fees.

    You should also bring to the hearing any documents (letters, business records, etc.), photographs, or other materials that you want the administrative law judge to consider as evidence. If there are documents or other materials in someone else's possession that you want considered as evidence, you can also obtain subpoenas to make that person, company, or agency produce those materials at the hearing. This is called a subpoena duces tecum. You should request a subpoena duces tecum in the same way that you would request a subpoena for a witness to testify. (See above.)

    When the other party's witnesses testify, you have the right to cross-examine those witnesses. So, in preparing for the hearing, you should think about the questions you want to ask your witnesses and the other party's witnesses and write down those questions for use at the hearing.

    After the hearing is over, the administrative law judge will keep all of the materials that have been received as evidence in the hearing record. Additionally, the administrative law judge will usually ask you to provide the other parties with copies of any documents that you place in evidence. So please come to the hearing with at least two (2) copies of any documents that you intend to offer as evidence.

    IMPORTANT REMINDER: The hearing will be your chance to tell the administrative law judge your side of the story. Bring to the hearing any witnesses, documents, or other materials that support your case.

  • Do I Have to Make Any Special Arrangements If I Have a Disability?

    If you or one of your witnesses need a sign language or foreign language interpreter, you should call the OAH receptionist (651/361-7900) and ask to talk with a staff member who can arrange for an interpreter.

  • What Happens If I Do Not Attend the Hearing?

    You must appear at the time and place scheduled unless you have contacted the administrative law judge ahead of time and have arranged for a new hearing time. If you do not show up for the hearing, the agency can ask the administrative law judge to find you in default. If that happens, the administrative law judge will assume that everything that the agency has claimed in the Notice of Hearing is true. The administrative law judge will then make a decision or recommendation that is based solely on what the agency claimed happened.

    IMPORTANT REMINDER: If an emergency happens that will make you late for your hearing, you should call the administrative law judge immediately to explain what the problem is. If you cannot reach the administrative law judge, you should call the OAH receptionist (651/361-7900).