The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) is the City’s central, independent administrative law court. OATH has two divisions that are responsible for adjudicating City matters: the OATH Trials Division and the OATH Hearings Division.
The OATH Trials Division adjudicates a wide range of issues that can be referred by any City agency, board or commission. Its caseload includes employee discipline and disability hearings for civil servants, Conflicts of Interest Board cases, proceedings related to the retention of seized vehicles by the police, City-issued license and regulatory enforcement, real estate, zoning and loft law violations, City contract disputes and human rights violations under the City Human Rights Law. OATH Trials are conducted by Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) who are appointed to five-year terms.
In the OATH Hearings Division, hearings are conducted on summonses issued by 25 different City enforcement agencies for alleged violations of law or City rules. These summonses are issued by the Departments of Buildings, Sanitation, Environmental Protection, Consumer and Worker Protection, Health and Mental Hygiene and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, among others. OATH also has jurisdiction to hold hearings on summonses from certain non-City entities such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. OATH hearings are conducted by Hearing Officers. The OATH Help Center assists self-represented litigants to understand the law, the hearing process and other processes to correctly respond and resolve summonses.
OATH also houses the Center for Creative Conflict Resolution, which provides mediation and restorative justice support to City government agencies, and the Administrative Judicial Institute, a resource center that provides training, continuing education, research and support services for the various administrative law judges and tribunals throughout New York City.