We have talked about administrative hearings on this blog in the past, but we have not gone over the process and what an administrative hearing means. Specifically, in California, when someone disagrees with an agency’s action, like a license revocation, it can be challenged through an administrative hearing.
What does that mean?
Administrative hearings are similar to a trial done in a court room, except they are governed by administrative law judges and less formal. An ALJ is a neutral, third-party that is empowered, like a judge, to conduct the hearings and any settlement conferences. As for who runs these, it depends on the agency. Some agencies run their own administrative hears and hire their own independent ALJs. Others use independent boards. Most agencies adopt the ALJ’s decision or issue their own decision based on that decision. It really depends on the licensing agency.
The ALJ’s decision is appealable. One can ask the California superior court to review the ALJ’s decision through a writ of mandate, and one can actually contact the agency that ran the administrative hearing how to appeal their decision. Indeed, in most, if not all, ALJ orders, there is language that explains one’s appeal options.
The administrative hearing procedures are governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. It outlines the rules and procedures for the hearings. Some agencies have additional statutes though, and all agencies have interpreter services. One simply needs to ask.
Prior to a hearing, all agencies must give the aggrieved party notice of their proposed action and an opportunity to dispute it. Cal. Gov’t Code §114251.10(a)(1). They must also give that party a copy of the procedures. Cal. Gov’t Code §115000. For those in risk of losing their license, they will usually first receive an accusation or a statement of issues that outlines the accusations. At this point, it is usually a good idea to contact a Los Angeles, California, attorney.