Authorized in 1989, the Office of Administrative Hearings began operations in January 1990 (Chapter 788, Acts of 1989). The Office provides an impartial hearing process for contested cases involving State agencies (except those exempted by law) that regulate certain actions of businesses and citizens. Maryland is one of twenty-seven states with a centralized office established for administrative adjudication.

A citizen who disagrees with an action taken by a State administrative agency may appear before an administrative law judge to obtain an impartial review. Administrative law judges are attorneys who are members in good standing of the Maryland Bar and have practiced law for at least five years. They are appointed by the Chief Administrative Law Judge to conduct administrative hearings and are independent of the government agency whose action is being contested. Though based in the Baltimore area, the judges hear cases statewide at branch offices in Cumberland, Hunt Valley, Kensington, and Salisbury, as well as other locations throughout Maryland.

During Fiscal Year 2014, the Office was concerned with some 48,599 cases. The majority of cases heard related to the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Since July 2010, the Office of Administrative Hearings has overseen a mediation process for homeowners facing foreclosure on owner-occupied residential property in Maryland. If a borrower requests mediation from the Circuit Court, an Administrative Law Judge meets with the mortgager and the lender to find agreement on an alternative to forclosure (Chapter 485, Acts of 2010; Code Housing & Community Development Article, sec. 4-507; Code Real Property Article, sec. 7-105.1).

The Office is headed by the Chief Administrative Law Judge, who is appointed to a six-year term by the Governor with Senate advice and consent (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-1601 through 9-1610).

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