The Hearing

The hearing is open to the public except in limited instances.

At the hearing, each party has the right to testify on his or her own behalf. Each party may also offer documents in evidence; have witnesses testify; question an opposing party's witnesses; and explain or rebut evidence. Additional courtroom facilities are available for cases which are held in Raleigh (see Raleigh Courtrooms).

In advance of the hearing you must prepare at least two copies of each exhibit which you intend to offer into evidence. Those exhibits admitted into evidence will be retained in the Official Record.

The hearing is recorded by either a hearing assistant provided by the Office of Administrative Hearings using an electronic recorder (there is no appearance fee for a hearing assistant) or a court reporter, listed by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts as authorized and approved to prepare transcripts of proceedings held in the courts of all counties procured directly by one or more parties to the contested case.  The party or parties procuring the court reporter must pay the reporter’s appearance fees.  A list of authorized court reporters and transcriptionists may be found by accessing the following link:  https://www.nccourts.gov/documents/publications/court-reporters-transcriptionists

At the end of the hearing, the Judge may ask one or more parties to submit a proposed decision and give a deadline for its submission.  A proposed decision contains the findings of fact and conclusions of law about your case that you would like to be included in the Administrative Law Judge's Decision.  The Judge may use some, all, or none of the proposed decision(s) when drafting the Judge's Decision, because the Judge is not obligated to use any portion of your proposed decision, even if he/she rules in your favor.  You may find examples of Administrative Law Judge Decisions in other OAH cases on the ALJ Decisions page.

Transcripts of proceedings held in the Office of Administrative Hearings shall be made only upon request of a party.  When proceedings are recorded by a court reporter, transcript requests shall be made directly to the court reporter.  When proceedings are recorded by a hearing assistant, transcript requests shall be made directly to a transcriptionist listed by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts as authorized and approved to prepare transcripts of proceedings held in the courts of all counties (see link above).  A party that orders a transcript shall use an Office of Administrative Hearings Transcript Contract Request Form to order the transcript. The form is available by clicking the following link: https://files.nc.gov/ncoah/documents/files/Transcript-Contract.pdf or may be obtained from the Chief Hearings Clerk upon request.  Depending on the length of the hearing, some transcripts may be expensive, but transcripts become part of the OAH Official Record on appeal.  The party ordering a transcript shall file the transcript contract with the Office of Administrative Hearings and shall serve the transcript contract on all other parties and the transcriptionist.  The transcriptionist shall deliver the transcript to the parties and file the transcript with the Office of Administrative Hearings by email to oah.clerks@oah.nc.gov in PDF format no later than 30 days after having been served with the transcript contract.  You may also purchase copies of recordings made by a hearing assistant upon written request utilizing the Hearing Recording Request Form (Form H-25B) available at https://files.nc.gov/ncoah/documents/files/H-25B.pdf.  Audio recordings of a hearing are usually less costly than a written transcript of the hearing, but these recording copies are not considered part of the Official Record.