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History

The Office of Administrative Hearings opened its doors on January 1, 1976. The agency exists to provide fair and impartial hearings to Minnesota residents, businesses and government agencies.

Administrative Law Division

Originally named the Office of Hearing Examiners, the Office of Administrative Hearings was created to provide a centralized panel of independent judges authorized to preside over cases involving challenges to government action. The agency’s judges also review the need for and reasonableness of all rules proposed by state agencies in order to increase consistency and serve as a balance against agency discretion.

The agency’s Administrative Law Judges preside over a wide variety of cases. They involve utility rate-setting and route designation, child care and foster care license regulation, veterans preference, occupational safety and health, professional licenses, nursing home rate-setting and regulatory compliance, environmental permits, human rights, personnel disputes involving government employees, fair campaign practices complaints, municipal boundary adjustment matters, and other challenges to government action. Through the decade ending in 1999, the Office of Administrative Hearings also issued and modified child support orders throughout Minnesota.

Workers’ Compensation Division

Since 1981, workers’ compensation hearings and related processes have been conducted at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Workers’ Compensation Judges preside over hearings, mediations, settlement conferences and pretrial proceedings, all in an effort to justly resolve the claims of injured workers and their employers in a fair and impartial manner.

The state’s workers’ compensation law has changed significantly over the years.  In 1913, Minnesota was the second state in the nation to enact a workers’ compensation law. That same year, the Department of Labor and Industry was created to administer the system. Initial benefits were limited to $10 in wage loss per week for up to 300 weeks, plus $100 for medical expenses. Major changes to the structure and value of claims were legislatively enacted in 1983 and 1995.  Over 10,000 new workers’ compensation claims are filed every year. 

Administrative Law Judges and Workers’ Compensation Judges at the Office of Administrative Hearings are required to meet the highest standards of ethical conduct and professionalism found in the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct. The judges, and the administrative and other professional staff who support their work, are dedicated and hard-working individuals who use their best efforts, every day, to do justice in service to the public. 

Read more information about OAH's history:
A History of Minnesota Administrative Procedure and the Office of Administrative Hearings
Minnesota's OAH: 30 Years of Innovation in Administrative Review
1975-1985: A Report on the First Decade

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