State Office of Administrative Hearings

External Complaints Policy

External Complaints Policy

Policy Description

Objective:To provide guidance and procedures for the handling of external  complaints formally filed with the agency. 
Legal Cites:Texas Government Code §§ 2003.0522114.006
Policy:ADM 1006

As part of the agency’s Compact with Texans, this policy governs the process for external complaints formally filed with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). SOAH is committed to providing exceptional service to its customers and, therefore, treats all complaints seriously. Each complaint will be thoroughly assessed and SOAH will take action when appropriate for the betterment of the agency and in the public interest.

Please Note The Following Important Information:

Filing a formal complaint with SOAH is not the proper process for seeking any form of legal relief or challenging or appealing the outcome of, or ruling in, any contested case proceeding or final decision. Challenges to the outcome of a proceeding must be filed either with the referring agency or with the appropriate court according to the law applicable to the case. 

Additionally, the filing of a complaint is not the appropriate procedure for requesting to disqualify or remove an administrative law judge (ALJ) from a proceeding. Any motion seeking the disqualification or recusal of an ALJ must be timely filed with the challenged ALJ in accordance with SOAH’s Rules of Procedure. See 1 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 155.152

ALJs employed by SOAH are granted statutory decisional independence. TEX. GOV’T CODE § 2003.022(d)(2). Accordingly, disagreement with an ALJ’s adjudicatory decisions will not be addressed through the complaints process, except insofar as a complaint may address an ALJ’s fitness to preside over administrative proceedings, generally. Complaints related to the actions of an ALJ will, therefore, be reviewed only to determine whether the ALJ has conducted the proceeding professionally and appropriately as required in the judge’s role as a neutral and independent finder of fact.


A. Filing a Complaint

Complaints must be in writing. This policy does not apply to oral communications.

A complainant must complete SOAH’s Formal Complaints Form and provide information that clearly describes:

  • the nature of the complaint or area of concern,
  • the facts or documents supporting the allegation(s),
  • the steps that have been taken to resolve the complaint, and
  • a proposal for how the complaint could be resolved.

The completed form may either be submitted through the online portal or by United States Postal Mail.

To submit the complaint through the online portal, the complainant may complete the Formal Complaint Form.

If the complainant does not want to submit the complaint online, the complainant may download, print, and mail theFormal Complaint Form to:

Hon. Kristofer Monson
Chief Administrative Law Judge
State Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 13025
Austin, Texas 78711-3025

The complaint, including the identity of the complainant, may be subject to disclosure in accordance with the Public Information Act. Anonymous complaints are not allowed due to legal prohibitions against ex parte and improper communications.

B. Review and Investigation

Complaints are addressed by the Chief Administrative Law Judge (Chief ALJ) and the Chief ALJ’s designee(s). When a complaint is received, the Chief ALJ’s office will confirm receipt of the complaint in writing and provide a copy of this policy. The Chief ALJ’s office will subsequently contact the complainant within 30 days of acknowledging the complaint, either resolving the complaint or determining that further investigation is necessary to resolve the complaint. 

SOAH will not address complaints relating to actions that occurred more than one calendar year before the complaint is filed, or that relate to persons or matters over which SOAH has no authority or jurisdiction. 

The Chief ALJ and the General Counsel, as the Chief ALJ’s designee, will investigate any complaints, as appropriate. They will have access to all internal records, and be able to consult with all SOAH employees in reviewing the complaint. This includes all filings and recorded proceedings of contested case proceedings that form the subject matter of the complaint. 

The Chief ALJ and General Counsel will determine whether the complaint is supported by good cause. Complaints that lack a basis in fact, law, or customer service principle will be resolved summarily. 

C. Response 

If the complaint has a basis in fact, the Chief ALJ and General Counsel will present the person who is the object of the complaint with a written explanation of the allegations and evidence. The person who is the object of the complaint will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint and allegations.

D. Resolution 

Resolution of a complaint will be provided to the complainant in writing. 

A substantiated complaint may result in changes in SOAH policy. If the person who is the object of the complaint has violated SOAH policy, including the ALJ Code of Conduct, that person may be subject to the full range of personnel actions contemplated under the SOAH Employee Handbook, up to and including termination.


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