June 10, 2024 - by Colleen Aracri

So You Want to Present a Case Before the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings?

To effectively present a case before the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), it is essential to understand OAH’s specific procedural rules and adaptable to its unique hearing process.

Specifically, attorneys who aim to practice before the OAH should familiarize themselves with both the statutes and regulations specific to their case type as well as the OAH Rules of Procedure, which are set forth at the Code of Maryland Regulations 28.02.01. It is important to note that these procedural rules differ significantly from those that govern the Maryland state and federal courts, in that they allow for a more streamlined and less formal process and offer greater flexibility with regard to evidence and testimony.

The types of cases handled by the OAH include motor vehicle violations (such as license suspensions and revocations), involuntary admissions to psychiatric hospitals, social service entitlement appeals (e.g., food stamps and medical assistance), state employee discipline and grievances, and many others. Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) conduct administrative hearings for the OAH. ALJs may issue decisions from the bench in Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), involuntary admission (IVA), clinical review panel (CRP) appeals, patient bill of rights (PBR), and developmental disabilities administration (DDA) cases, while they typically deliver written decisions in all other types of cases they hear.

The OAH encourages parties to confer with one another to attempt to settle their cases, and offers parties the option of assigning an ALJ to act as a settlement judge or mediator. In compliance with Maryland Rule 17-104, all ALJs have completed the initial 40-hour mediation training course and receive the required annual continuing mediation training. Generally speaking, contested cases that do not resolve prior to their hearings follow the format of opening statements, presentation of witnesses and other evidence, direct and cross examination, closing arguments, and rebuttals.

ALJs encourage attorneys presenting OAH cases to have copies of exhibits available for participants, and to file motions as early as possible, as they may not rule on last minute motions before hearings. They also stress the importance of attorneys refraining from ex parte or informal communications with ALJs.


This article is derived from the presentation So You Want To Present A Case Before The Maryland Office Of Administrative Hearings?, by the Honorable John Leidig and the Honorable Syeetah Hampton-EL, as part of MSBA’s 2024 Legal Summit in Ocean City.