The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is a quasi-judicial tribunal that hears administrative disputes. OAH is divided into two divisions: General Jurisdiction Division and Special Education Division. OAH’s Special Education Division contracts with the California Department of Education to handle special education due process hearings and mediations.
On September 28, 2017, the California Attorney General submitted Opinion No. 14-101 to the OAH. The Opinion held that neither the IDEA and/or California law authorize any party to a due process hearing to be represented by a person that is not an active member of the California State Bar in due process hearings. The Opinion recognized that the representation of another before a governmental entity has historically be regarded as the “practice of law.” Under the State Bar Act, it is unlawful to practice law in this state unless one is a member of the State Bar of California or is otherwise authorized by statute or court rule to engage in the practice of law.
The Attorney General’s Opinion does not prohibit a party from being accompanied and advised by individuals with special knowledge or training relating to the problems of individuals with exceptional needs. (See CA Education Code Section 56505.) However, these individuals may not represent the legal interests of the party if they are not an attorney.
If you believe you have a claim against your school district that may result in due process, contact Kristin Springer at (925) 551-1041 for a 20 minute free consultation.
(Note: This Blog/Web Site is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The website has been designed to be a resource for information on matters that might be of interest to current or potential clients but does not establish that relationship. For further information visit my Disclaimer page- https://specialedlegaljourney.com/about/disclaimer/)