The State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) is an independent agency within the executive branch of the State of Texas. SOAH conducts hearings and mediations in response to referrals from more than 50 state agencies and governmental entities. SOAH’s mission is to conduct fair, prompt, and efficient hearings and mediations, and to provide fair, reasoned, and timely decisions.
Our headquarters are in Austin, Texas, with field offices in Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, and San Antonio. We also have thirty-one remote sites throughout the state. These remote sites are not staffed SOAH offices, but are locations at which SOAH regularly holds hearings.
The Chief Administrative Law Judge
The head of SOAH is the Chief Administrative Law Judge, who is appointed for a two-year term by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Chief ALJ’s role is to manage and coordinate the agency’s operations and to assure the agency carries out its mission. Cathleen Parsley is SOAH’s Chief ALJ.
Administrative Law Judges
A SOAH Administrative Law Judge is a neutral, experienced attorney who conducts conferences before the hearing, issues pre-hearing orders, and controls the course of the hearing. When the hearing on the merits is convened, the ALJ presides and listens to the parties’ evidence. After the hearing, the ALJ will consider the evidence and write a Proposal for Decision that recommends an outcome. In some cases, the ALJ has the authority to issue the final decision. But, in the majority of cases, the final decision is made by a person within the state agency or by the board or commission that referred the matter to SOAH. A list of SOAH’s ALJs is here.
SOAH is divided into seven teams according to referring agency and subject matter. The teams are Administrative License Revocation and Field Enforcement, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Economic, Licensing, Natural Resources, Tax, and Utilities. The ALJs typically serve on several teams and hear a variety of types of cases.
Location And Parking
SOAH's main office is located in the William P. Clements Building, 300 West 15th Street, Suite 502, Austin, Texas 78701.
Unless the notice of hearing states otherwise, SOAH hearings in Austin are held in hearing rooms on the fourth floor in the Clements Building. Because SOAH is located near the State Capitol, parking is limited, and hearing participants should plan accordingly. The Capitol Visitors Parking Garage is located at 1201 San Jacinto. Other paid parking lots and garages are located in the vicinity of the Clements Building. One may arrange for disability parking by contacting SOAH's Parking Coordinator at (512) 475-4993 at least three days before the hearing.
Equal Opportunity Policy
It is SOAH's policy to afford equal employment opportunity to qualified individuals regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability, and to comply with applicable laws and regulations. SOAH recognizes the value and strength of a workforce that is culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse, and our goal is to continue to seek ways of promoting and maintaining such an environment at this agency.
Likewise, SOAH management is committed to using historically underutilized firms when possible for the provision of goods and services.