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Representation at Resolution Meetings, Mediation, and Due Process Hearing
Parents or educational agencies may resolve educational disputes through a mechanism called due process. Due process differs from other dispute resolution opportunities in that a Hearing Officer decides the dispute for the parties. Throughout the due process proceedings, resolution through mediation remains available to the parties. In addition, during the proceedings the parties may settle some or all of the issues among themselves at any time.
Due process hearings are similar to trials, with the Hearing Officer presiding and acting as a judge. An attorney will represent the educational agency. The parent may also be represented by an attorney, or may proceed without counsel. Witnesses are questioned and cross-examined, and evidence is admitted into the record for the Hearing Officer’s consideration. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer issues a written decision, which is a legally enforceable document setting forth the legal obligations of all the parties.
Representation of Appeal of an Administrative Due Process Hearing
What’s a due process hearing, and what happens there?
There are times when the disputing parties have been unable or unwilling to resolve the conflict themselves, and so they proceed to a due process hearing. There, an impartial, trained hearing officer hears the evidence and issues a hearing decision.
During a due process hearing, each party has the opportunity to present their views in a formal legal setting, using witnesses, testimony, documents, and legal arguments that each believes is important for the hearing officer to consider in order to decide the issues in the hearing. Since the due process hearing is a legal proceeding, a party will often choose to be represented by an attorney.
Important point: The party requesting the hearing can only raise the issues included in the due process complaint filed under §300.508(b), unless the other party agrees otherwise. [§300.511(d)]