Update to Operations at the Office of Administrative Hearings – Virtual Hearings

Below is an update to Operations at the Office of Administrative Hearings (effective May 20, 2020).

 

Until further notice, in-person hearings continue to be limited to critical, priority matters that cannot effectively be held by a remote method (e.g. telephone). Judges are making decisions on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the parties. This policy will be in effect for the indefinite and foreseeable future.

 

Virtual proceedings

 

In the last OAH update, it was announced that they were adding a web-based platform for video proceedings to replace some telephone proceedings. On May 20, 2020, it was announced that Microsoft Teams is the platform that OAH will use for virtual proceedings. Judges and staff have engaged in mock hearings using Microsoft Teams and provided feedback around the technology itself and business processes.

 

OAH will start with highly predictable, lower-risk proceedings that are already being held by telephone. We will slowly and deliberatively incorporate more judges and more complicated proceedings as we all become accustomed to this new experience. Judges will continue to make decisions on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with parties. Starting in June, judges will contact parties to suggest converting select proceedings to Teams. Parties should not contact the assigned judge.

 

OAH chose Microsoft Teams for the following reasons:

 

  • OAH already has the software, meaning quicker implementation is possible;
  • There’s no additional cost to the state and no cost to participants;
  • It has Microsoft’s O365 Government Community Cloud security certification;
  • Each meeting has a waiting room, meaning that people can only join if the judge approves them;
  • Participants can share their screen to help present exhibits;
  • Participants do not need to create an account;
  • Participants can connect from computers, mobile devices, or tablets.

 

What are the next steps at CWK?

 

With virtual Hearings on the horizon, we are working to become proficient in using Microsoft Teams. This will be important to the effective presentation of cases, especially when it comes to seamlessly presenting exhibits and arguments. We will also need to prepare our witnesses to use this software as well. Our plan is to participate in training sessions, demos, and possibly mock hearings. Below are links provided by OAH for sessions and instructions to utilize as training.

 

https://microsoftteams.eventbuilder.com/MaximizingTeamsMeetings

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/meetings-in-teams-e0b0ae21-53ee-4462-a50d-ca9b9e217b67

 

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/join-a-teams-meeting-078e9868-f1aa-4414-8bb9-ee88e9236ee4

 

Questions?

 

Please contact us at CWK with questions on virtual Hearings.