Standing Guidelines for Presiding Officers
The Director of OAH reserves the right to amend, supplement, or modify these rules at any time.
- Presiding Officers are expected to require participants to a hearing or prehearing to appear promptly at the appointed time and date. Failure to appear within ten (10) minutes of the appointed time may result in a default order being entered against the offending party without further notice. The Presiding Officer has discretion to allow a longer time.
- Presiding Officers should generally prohibit communication by email with OAH unless otherwise ordered by the Presiding Officer. Mail and fax are the preferred means of communication.
- Require any pleading filed by an attorney in any action or proceeding to contain the Kansas Supreme Court registration number of the attorney filing the same and to clearly indicate the party or litigant represented by such attorney. Require all pleadings filed by a law firm or by multiple counselors to designate the responsible attorney for purposes of notice. If any change in designation is sought, require that it be made to the Presiding Officer and all other parties in writing.
- The Presiding Officer in each case shall presume there are only two parties to the dispute in question, an appellant/petitioner and a respondent. The Presiding Officer shall assert sole discretion in determining whether additional parties will be allowed in order to serve the interests of justice and the orderly and prompt conduct of the proceedings. In determining a party when there is an agent/principal relationship, your presumption should be to name the principal as the party. Other than motions to intervene which may be filed by non-parties, permit only a party to a given case to make a filing of any kind in that case.
Allow motions to intervene to be filed no later than three business days prior to the formal hearing. When two or more interveners join in a motion to intervene and are unrepresented by an attorney, designate a lead intervener as the contact person for the purpose of receiving documents from the Presiding Officer and other parties. The Presiding Officer should assert sole discretion in ruling on such motions, setting a motion hearing, or otherwise delineating proceedings for disposing of such motions. Require each motion to intervene to:
- List the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons moving to intervene. If an attorney represents the intervener(s), substitute the attorney's name, address and telephone number for that of the intervener(s);
- State whether the party is intervening on the side of the appellant/petitioner or the respondent;
- State the facts which show the party is entitled to intervene, together with supporting memorandum, affidavits or other proof;
- On the last page, be signed by each intervener, or the attorney representing that intervener, on whose behalf the motion to intervene is filed; and,
- Be served upon the Presiding Officer and all parties.
Except as you may specially authorize, limit the length of briefs to the following:
- All motions, including motions for summary judgment and motions to dismiss, together with their argumentative briefs should be submitted in consecutively numbered pages and be restricted to: Brief in support–25 pages; Brief in opposition–25 pages; and, Reply brief–10 pages. Do not apply these page limitations to attachments, but the volume of each brief with its attachments included should not exceed 100 pages and each page of the attachments should be consecutively numbered throughout all those that are so attached.
- Require any motion to exceed page limitations to be submitted before submission of the document and to include a specific total number of pages requested. You may rule upon such motions without waiting for a response from any other party. If you grant a motion increasing the number of pages of a brief in support, then automatically increase the page limit for the brief in opposition to the same page limit. If you deny the motion, give the movant seven days from the date of denial to file a compliant document.
- Presiding Officers may strike any document submitted for filing that exceeds the page limitations.
- Prevent parties and counsel from contacting the Presiding Officer by telephone to discuss the merits of any case without the other party or counsel being present on the call.
- Exercise your sole discretion to determine the maximum adequate time within which the formal hearing shall be conducted. Subject to any contrary order you may find appropriate, allow the maximum hearing time to be two hours allocated equitably between the parties. All exhibits should be consecutively numbered on each page.
- Generally require the agency whose action is being challenged to present its witnesses and evidence first at any hearing, unless otherwise requested by the parties and ordered by the Presiding Officer.
Require all participants to an administrative proceeding before an OAH Presiding Officer to observe proper decorum and exhibit respect at all times to the Presiding Officer, OAH staff, and all participants.
- This includes, but is not limited to: no swearing, unless in the context of relating testimony; no interrupting or talking over the Presiding Officer, witnesses, or counsel; no use or checking of cell phones or other electronic devices during a proceeding unless authorized or directed to do so by the Presiding Officer; no disruptive behavior of any kind; addressing the Presiding Officer in a respectful manner at all times as sir or ma'am, judge, your honor, or Mr. or Ms. followed by the Presiding Officer's last name (use of first names is not appropriate when addressing the Presiding Officer); and, addressing counsel, parties, witnesses and other participants as Mr. or Ms. followed by that person's last name.
- Depending on the severity or repetition of the offense, you may enter a default order against the offending party or declare evidence and/or testimony to be excluded.
- Require the parties and all participants to obey all instructions and orders of the Presiding Officer. You may enter a default order against the offending party or declare evidence and/or testimony to be excluded.
- Unless you order otherwise in advance, require all communications with the Presiding Officer to be in writing and copied to any opposing party and counsel.
- OAH staff and Presiding Officers shall not provide legal advice to parties or their counsel.
- Require the parties to notify OAH of any address or contact information updates. You should not accept, by itself, a party's explanation that it notified its address change to the state agency whose action is being appealed.
- Presume that pro se litigants know the law and procedure applicable to their administrative appeal. Do not give preferential treatment to pro se litigants.
- Require parties and counsel who have a conflict with any date set by the Presiding Officer to advise the Presiding Officer as soon as they are aware that the conflict may necessitate a continuance. However, you are strongly discouraged from allowing a motion for a continuance or extension to be filed less than one (1) business day before the deadline expires. You may address any failure to comply by denying the request or motion.
- If a party fails to timely respond to motions or to requests for responses or information, you may grant the motion as being unopposed or enter a default order against the offending party.
- Ensure that all hearings be recorded either by electronic means or by use of a certified court reporter. You are strongly discouraged from allowing any other electronic recordings to be made. In order to facilitate the creation of a clean and accurate record, any parties, witnesses, observers, or counsel who create undue noise or interruptions shall be directed to cease the offending activity. You may direct any repeated offender of such noise problems to be removed from the hearing.
- Direct that all cell phones and other electronic devices be silenced or turned off during all proceedings before the Presiding Officer. You may direct any repeated offender of such noise problems to be removed from the hearing.
- Do not allow animals present in any proceedings before the Presiding Officer unless it is an authorized service animal.