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About OAH

The District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings is an administrative court that was created in 2001 by the Council of the District of Columbia to provide centralized adjudication services for several District agencies.

It began formal operations in 2004. Today, there are 33 Administrative Law Judges who decide contested cases involving more than 40 District of Columbia agencies, boards and commissions.

As an independent agency, the Office of Administrative Hearings is a neutral, impartial tribunal that holds hearings and decides appeals from government decisions. The Office of Administrative Hearings decides cases involving unemployment compensation, Medicaid and other public benefits, public space, rent control, professional and business licenses, and building, health and fire code violations, among others. The Office of Administrative Hearings also receives payments of fines imposed by various agencies.

The Chief Administrative Law Judge oversees the Office of Administrative Hearings.  By statute, the Chief Judge is appointed to a six-year term by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, with confirmation by the Council of the District of Columbia. Chief Judge Mary Oates Walker was named Acting Chief Administrative Law Judge effective January 1, 2010. After confirmation by the Council, she was appointed Chief Administrative Law Judge effective February 2, 2010.

In addition to the Administrative Law Judges, there are presently more than 45 employees who provide critical support services ranging from customer service to data processing, case management, legal analysis and support and operational support such as human resources and information technology.

Mission

The Office of Administrative Hearings strives to enhance the quality of life in our city by providing residents with a fair, efficient and effective system to manage and resolve administrative litigation arising under District of Columbia law.

Customer Survey Form

The Office of Administrative Hearings is interested in feedback from those who use its services in order to improve those services. This survey is given to all parties when they appear for a hearing. The information contained in this survey will not affect the outcome of your case, and will not be identified by case number or name. The Customer Survey Form can be filled out at the Office of Administrative Hearings or complete the survey online.

Biographies of the Administrative Law Judges

The Commission on Selection and Tenure (“Commission”) appoints Administrative Law Judges. In order to be eligible for appointment, an applicant must be a member in good standing of the District of Columbia Bar, have at least five years of experience, including litigation experience, and “possess judicial temperament, expertise, experience, and analytical and other skills. . . .” Biographical information is available for each of the Administrative Law Judges.

Information Requests (FOIA and Media)

The Office of Administrative Hearings has designated a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) Officer to handle all FOIA requests. Please note that a request for a copy of your own case materials is not a FOIA request and can be made by email to oah.info@dc.gov. Reporters with questions about operations or cases may contact the Office of Administrative Hearings by email at oah.info@dc.gov (Attn: Media Request) or by telephone at (202) 442-9094.

Office Hours and Court Closings

If you have a hearing or mediation scheduled on a day when the District of Columbia Government is closed or there is a delayed opening, the Office of Administrative Hearings has an Office Hours and Office Closings policy about whether your hearing or mediation will take place.

Performance

By statute, the Office of Administrative Hearings prepares annual reports.

In addition, information concerning agency performance is available at the Office of the City Administrator.

Job Opportunities

The Office of Administrative Hearings periodically hires people for a variety of positions and has a formal legal internship program during the summer.