Administrative Law Judge or ALJ Law and Legal Definition

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is an official who presides at an administrative hearing to resolve disputes between a government agency and someone affected by a decision or action of that agency. An ALJ is the initial trier of fact and decision maker in administrative hearings. An ALJ has the power to administer oaths, take testimony, rule on questions of evidence, and make factual and legal determinations. ALJ’s are also referred to as hearing examiners, hearing officers or trial examiners.

Generally decisions made by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can be reviewed by the filing of a request for review. When an ALJ renders a decision called an administrative order, it may be reviewed by either a higher level within the agency or by a court. A person denied their claim by an ALJ must "exhaust his/her administrative remedies" (take every step, including appeals) with the agency and its system before the administrative ruling may be appealed by a lawsuit in court.