The information below includes information necessary to participate in Prehearing Conferences and Hearings either by telephone or videoconference. This information is provided in the outline below.

The Office of Administrative Hearings, referred to as "OAH," Special Education Division is now conducting Prehearing Conferences and Hearings by videoconference and telephone. The information on this page provides resources for parties to be able to fully participate in this new process. OAH is currently using Microsoft Teams to conduct its Prehearing Conferences and Hearings.

For answers to the most commonly asked questions, please see the FAQs page for the virtual videoconference prehearing conferences and hearings.

If you have not previously used the MS Teams platform and you wish to familiarize yourself with the technology, there are informative videos available like the following:

1. All Special Education Prehearing Conferences and Due Process Hearings Scheduled with OAH will Now Occur by Videoconference.

The OAH is authorized to conduct due process hearings by videoconfrerence or telephone. (5 C.C.R. § 3082, subd. (g).) Based on novel coronavirus, COVID-19 concerns, all special education prehearing conferences and due process hearings scheduled with OAH will now occur by videoconference using the Microsoft Teams application, until otherwise ordered.

2. Prehearing Conferences and Hearings will be Conducted Using Microsoft Teams Software.

Microsoft Teams is software that provides videoconferencing capabilities and allows participants in different locations to participate in prehearing conferences and due process hearings by computer or telephone. Instead of a telephonic prehearing conference, all participants will join through the Teams application. The prehearing conference participants will simultaneously appear on the computer screens through a live video and audio stream.

If you have not previously used the MS Teams platform and you wish to familiarize yourself with the technology, there are informative videos available like the following:

3. Providing Participation Information to OAH

Two business days before the prehearing conference, the parties must file with OAH a Participant Information for Prehearing Conference and Video Due Process Hearing form. The parties do not serve the Form on the opposing side. The Form collects contact and technology information for the attorneys, parties, and anticipated due process hearing witnesses. OAH requires the parties and counsel to confirm they meet the minimum videoconferencing requirements. The Form is confidential and OAH uses the information to conduct the prehearing conference and hearing.

4. OAH will Schedule the Prehearing Conference and Hearing Videoconference

OAH will send an email invitation to the parties or their attorneys to join the prehearing conference. The participants are not to reply to this email or correspond with the Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ, by email. Any attempt to correspond with the ALJ using their email address, shall be considered an ex parte communication. All questions shall be directed to the assigned OAH case manager.

Will the other participants be able to see my email address?

In some cases, the other participants may be able to see the email addresses for other participants.

5. Participating in the Prehearing Conference and Hearing

At the designated time for the prehearing conference, click on “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting". If you have not downloaded the MS Teams application in the past, a new screen will open in your browser inviting you to do so. Once the software has been downloaded you will click on the download item to open the software. This will automatically connect you to the meeting. Enter your first and last name where indicated. You will see a message informing you that you will be allowed to enter the meeting shortly. The ALJ will open the meeting to you.

The parties are encouraged to download the Microsoft Teams application, and conduct a test accessing Microsoft Teams before their scheduled prehearing conference.

If you have not previously used the MS Teams platform and you wish to familiarize yourself with the technology, there are informative videos available like the following:

6. Participation Without the Use of Video will be at the Discretion of the ALJ

7. Guidelines for Video Appearance

Participants shall appear at the prehearing conference from a location free from distractions. The participants should take reasonable efforts to minimize background noise and maintain adequate room lighting. Virtual background images are at the discretion of the ALJ.