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Representation at an Administrative Hearing - An Overview

An Office of Administrative Law (OAL) hearing is a formal legal proceeding. The OAL strives to make our process accessible to litigants who wish to appear without representation, but it is important that unrepresented parties familiarize themselves with our rules, which can be found at N.J.A.C. 1:1.  We do not provide legal advice to litigants and we urge you to consult an attorney if you have any questions about our process.

If you cannot afford an attorney, you can contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services. The Legal Services of New Jersey website, http://lsnj.org/, may be of help.

If you do not qualify for free legal services, the New Jersey Bar Association may be of help in locating an attorney with the right background and expertise for your case, including possibly some who are willing to assist at a reduced fee. Their website at tcms.njsba.com, includes a list of County Bar Associations which offer lawyer referral services.

Relative to Special Education matters, you are urged to contact the Department of Education, which maintains a list of resources for parents seeking legal representation and advice.

In some cases, our rules allow for representation by a non-attorney representative. The list of cases where a non-attorney can appear can be found at N.J.A.C. 1:1-5.4, and includes a paralegal or assistant employed by Legal Services; a principal of a close corporation; a union representative in a Civil Service case; and special education advocates as permitted by Federal Law in Special Education matters. In certain instances, a Notice of Appearance/Application Form must be submitted prior to the hearing; these forms are available on our website under the tab “Non-lawyer Representation.”