What to Expect
Before the hearing
What is your right to appeal ESD’s decision?
If you disagree with ESD’s decision, you have a right to file an appeal with ESD. An “appeal” is a written statement that you disagree and would like to request a hearing.
If ESD does not change its decision, they will send your appeal to OAH for a hearing with a judge. The judges are not employed by ESD. Judges make independent decisions based on all the evidence.
Will OAH schedule a hearing?
OAH will mail you a Notice of Hearing. It will give you the hearing date and time, and instructions about how to participate. Follow the directions on the Notice of Hearing. If you have questions, contact OAH at the telephone number on the Notice of Hearing or (800) 583-8271.
At the hearing
When the hearing begins, the judge will describe the case and the hearing process. The judge will ask everyone to identify themselves. The hearing will be recorded.
Make sure you have all of your witnesses on the phone at the beginning of the hearing. It is your job to have your witnesses there and ready before the hearing starts.
The judge will decide who will get to talk first and in what order. All parties will have a chance to tell their side of the story. The judge may ask questions. The judge will consider two types of evidence: testimony and exhibits.
What is testimony?
Testimony is a statement under oath. When a person is placed under oath, it means that they swear or affirm to tell the truth. If you do not tell the truth it can be perjury, which is a crime.
Once a person is under oath, they will tell the judge their side of the story. If a party is represented, their representative may ask questions.
The judge will limit unnecessary testimony.
What is cross-examination?
After a person tells their story, the other party is allowed to cross-examine. Cross-examination is asking questions of a witness about their testimony.
When it is your turn to ask questions, you cannot:
- give statements about what happened
- give more information about your side of the story or
- tell the judge that you disagree with the witness’s answer
- ask questions of the witness based on their testimony.
- ask the judge to testify again if you disagree with the witness’s answers
What are objections to testimony?
You can object when the other party is questioning you or a witness. You can object to the question or to the answer. Objections are most commonly made when the other party asks questions in the wrong way or when testimony is not related to the case.
You cannot object just because you disagree with what the witness says. Remember, you will have a chance to tell your side of the story.
The judge will listen and respond to your objection with instructions.
What are exhibits?
Exhibits are also evidence. An exhibit can be a document, picture, video, or something else besides testimony that is used to prove a point. The judge will decide whether an exhibit will be considered in deciding the case.
The documents you received with your Notice of Hearing are exhibits. If you have more exhibits that you want the judge to see, you must immediately send them to the judge and all other parties listed in the Notice of Hearing. It is your job to get the exhibits to OAH and all other parties.
Submit your exhibits as soon as possible. If you do not follow these instructions, your exhibits may not be considered.
If you need to send a digital picture or video, OAH accepts these formats:
- CD, DVD or thumb drive
- Must be MP3 or MP4 (basic Windows Media format)
OAH does not accept these formats:
- .exe files (executable files)
- Files that require additional software
You can file documents or review your case information through the Participant Portal.
Training and Resources:
What are objections to exhibits?
At the beginning of the hearing, the judge will discuss the exhibits. The judge will ask if you object to any exhibits. This is a way of asking you if it is okay for the judge to consider the exhibit when making their decision. The judge will listen and respond to your objection with instructions.
You cannot object to an exhibit just because you disagree with what it says. Remember, you can tell judge what you disagree with when it is your turn to tell your story.
What are closing statements?
At the end of the hearing, the parties may give closing statements. A closing statement is your chance to tell the judge why you think you should win. A closing statement is not a chance to give additional testimony. It should be very brief.
How does the hearing end?
The hearing record will close at the end of the hearing. This means that you cannot submit any other evidence to OAH or to a higher court after the hearing is over.