Office of Administrative Hearings

The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is a quasi-judicial tribunal that hears administrative disputes.  Established by the California Legislature in 1945, OAH provides independent Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) to conduct hearings for over 1,500 State and local government agencies.  OAH provides both adjudication and alternative dispute resolution services. 

Of the 10,000 to 14,000 cases filed with OAH each year, approximately 50 percent of our General Jurisdiction cases and 96 percent of our Special Education cases are resolved without the need for hearing and decision.  OAH offers a wealth of experience, qualified ALJs, professional calendar staff, and the flexibility to mediate, arbitrate, or adjudicate administrative disputes at a cost substantially less than charged by other providers.

About OAH

OAH Office Information

OAH Offices

The Office of Administrative Hearings has five regional offices with hearing rooms. Cases may also be heard in other venues. 

Administration Division
2349 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95833-4231
Fax: 916.263.0554 (Program specific submittals sent to this fax number may be delayed)

Linda Cabatic, Director and Chief Administrative Law Judge
Melissa Crowell, Deputy Director
Tim Dean, Executive Assistant

See OAH Offices for regional office information.

Contact Us via Email
OAH Brochures

OAH Brochures

Administrative Disputes

Administrative Disputes

In California, where there is disagreement with an action intended to be taken by certain government agencies against an individual or business, a hearing before OAH may be requested.  Typically, this occurs when an agency seeks to discipline one of its licensees.  For example, all hearings before the Medical Board of California involving physician discipline are conducted before an OAH ALJ.   Similarly, the Department of Social Services prosecutes actions to regulate licensed day care or residential facilities before OAH when complaints of abuse or neglect are brought to its attention.  And many cities and counties contract with OAH to hear employee discipline and disability retirement appeals.
Administrative Law Judges

Administrative Law Judges

The ALJs are fully independent of the agencies whose attorneys appear before them.  The Administrative Law Judge has the same relationship with each party -- that of a neutral fact-finder.  All OAH ALJs are required to have practiced law for at least five years before being appointed, and typically have over ten years experience.



ALJs preside over hearings in a manner similar to civil court trials unless local agency rules provide otherwise.  Hearings are generally open to the public.  Each party is given an opportunity to make an opening statement, call witnesses, and offer other relevant evidence.  After all the evidence is submitted, the parties may make closing arguments, orally or in writing.  In most cases, the ALJ prepares a detailed written decision within 30 days.
Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution

OAH also has an alternative dispute resolution program offering both mediation and arbitration services.