This page breaks out the contents of the current Emergency Order and provides parties at SOAH with useful resources and information for engaging in the hearings process during this time.
Notice Regarding Agency Operations
In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, SOAH’s Austin Headquarters office has reduced in-office staff to essential personnel only and will have onsite staff available to accept filings between the hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
Hours of operation at local SOAH field offices may continue to be limited until further notice.
Telephonic and videoconference hearings will continue normally, and emergency hearings will be held at SOAH facilities as necessary. Further details can be found in the Chief Administrative Law Judge’s emergency order and in the agency’s COVID-19 Operating Plan for Phased Re-opening.
Please contact SOAH’s Austin Headquarters at (512) 475-4993 during business hours if you need assistance.
Emergency Order of the SOAH Chief Administrative Law Judge
Click here for the October 1,2020 Emergency Order of the Chief Administrative Law Judge regarding "Requirements for Remote Hearings and Mediations Related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)".
Click here for information regarding in-person Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearings scheduled to convene on or after October 1, 2020.
SOAH’s COVID 19 Response is governed by the current Emergency Order of October 1, 2020.
The Emergency Order provides:
- For reasons of public health and safety, non-emergency general docket hearings, ALR hearings, and mediations will continue to be conducted via remote technologies, unless the judge determines that a remote hearing is not feasible or that justice requires an in-person hearing.
- Until further notice, a request for hearing must request either a telephonic or videoconference hearing. If a party believes one of those methods is not feasible, the request for hearing, objection, or motion for continuance must include a brief showing good cause as to why an in-person proceeding is necessary.
- For matters referred after October 1, 2020, SOAH, in its sole discretion, may begin scheduling of a limited number of non-emergency in-person hearings at SOAH offices and remote locations where civil district courts in the jurisdiction where the SOAH office resides have resumed similar non-essential proceedings. Prior approval of the Chief Administrative Law Judge is required for scheduling of in-person hearings to ensure that the designated location is available for in-person hearings and that protocols are in place to ensure the health and safety of agency employees and hearing participants.
- Videoconferences will be hosted using videoconferencing platform controlled by SOAH or a court reporting service. Telephonic hearings will be conducted using SOAH’s longstanding conference-call system.
- To protect staff and members of the public, all those attending in-person hearings will be expected to adhere to safety measures announced by the judge. Those measures will include social distancing, requiring that counsel and parties with a positive COVID-19 test or with any flu-like symptoms contact SOAH prior to the proceeding. Parties to in-person hearings should wear face masks and may be required to wear gloves and use sanitizer.
- Parties to in-person proceedings may file a motion to make an appearance or to present testimony telephonically or by videoconference.
- Parties are expected, except for good cause shown, to pre-file all exhibits in accordance with the judge’s orders or not later than 10 days prior to hearing, in order to facilitate the remote-hearings process.
Questions and Answers
For more guidance regarding hearings at SOAH during the COVID-19 pandemic response, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Further Information and Resources
The most accurate and up-to-date state information on the current coronavirus situation can be found on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.
Para asistencia en espanol con nuestra pagina de internet, llame al numero 512.475.4993.