Administrative Law Judge Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Administrative Law Judge, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Administrative Law Judge?

n. this refers particularly to the setup of Administrative Law in USA referring to an official who presides at an administrative trial-type hearing. He is the initial trier of fact and a decision maker. The designation is also known as “hearing examiner,” “hearing officer” or “trial examiner,”. Under the powers vested in him he can administer oaths, take testimony and make factual and legal determinations.

History and Meaning of Administrative Law Judge

The term "Administrative Law Judge" (ALJ) refers to an official who presides over a trial-type hearing in the field of administrative law. The ALJ is responsible for conducting the hearing, taking testimony from witnesses, evaluating evidence presented, and making factual and legal determinations. They are considered the initial trier of fact and have the power to administer oaths.

The concept of administrative law judges arose out of the need for impartial decision-makers in cases involving disputes between individuals and government agencies. In the United States, the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 established the framework for the use of ALJs in administrative hearings. Since then, ALJs have become an essential part of the administrative process in governmental agencies, as they provide a level of impartiality and expertise in the areas where the agencies work.

Examples of Administrative Law Judge

  1. In the case of a dispute between a company and a governmental agency, an Administrative Law Judge would hear the case and make a decision on the matter.

  2. A person filing for social security benefits may have their case heard by an Administrative Law Judge to determine if they are eligible to receive them.

  3. An individual who is appealing a decision made by a government agency may have their case heard by an Administrative Law Judge to determine if the original decision was correct.

Legal Terms Similar to Administrative Law Judge

  1. Hearing examiner: synonymous with Administrative Law Judge, this term is used to refer to an official who presides over an administrative hearing.

  2. Hearing officer: another term for Administrative Law Judge or hearing examiner.

  3. Trial examiner: another term used in some states for an Administrative Law Judge or hearing examiner who presides over administrative hearings.