Administrative Law

The purpose of administrative hearings is to unburden the courts with matters that require specialized knowledge. These matters are handled by the administrative agencies on a regular basis, and must first go through an administrative agency before going to court. Typically, administrative litigation concerns a hearing before a non-judicial officer, or a series of appeals rising through the agency's own dispute resolution process. These proceedings are often less formal than going to court, and have lower standards for procedural and evidentiary requirements.

Despite the less formal appearance of an administrative hearing, it is important for a respondent (person or business being subjected to an administrative hearing) to know the applicable law, procedural rules, and possible grounds for appeal. A respondent may be subjected to significant fines, suspension or revocation of licenses, or deprivation of benefits that she relies on.

Some typical Virginia administrative agency dispute resolution departments include:

  • Alcohol Beverage Control's Hearings, Appeals and Judicial Services Division
  • Department of Health Professions Enforcement Division
  • Board of Accountancy's Enforcement Division
  • Department of Labor and Industry, Division of Labor and Employment Law
  • Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
  • Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity
  • Department of Social Services
  • Local zoning boards
  • Virginia Department of Education, Special Education Hearing Officers
  • Virginia Department of Health Environmental Health Inspections
  • Virginia Employment Commission, Office of Commission Appeals


Comparable federal agencies act similarly to their Virginia counterparts.

Deadlines in administrative hearings can be tight and may require you to take prompt action. Failure to respond by a deadline can bar your right to appeal or otherwise challenge the administrative action.

Please contact our office to discuss your administrative law matter.