An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is an independent hearing examiner who presides at an administrative hearing. The ALJ serves as both the judge and the jury in an administrative hearing. An ALJ has the power to administer oaths, receive evidence, take testimony, and make initial findings of fact or law. An ALJ’s findings are subject to review and modification by agency heads.
The ALJ is appointed to hold hearings and to investigate and report facts sometimes with recommendations to an administrative or quasi-judicial agency or tribunal.
The status of the ALJ is defined by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA requires that ALJ preside over hearings during formal adjudication proceedings. ALJ can also preside over hearings during informal adjudication.
The ALJ can also be termed hearing examiner; hearing officer; and trial examiner.
[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]