About the Department of Administrative Hearings

The Cook County Department of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) was established by Ordinance 09-O-03 on December 3, 2008, effective January 1, 2009. The DOAH began hearing cases in May 2009.

The Department was set up to provide expedient, independent and impartial hearings to citizens who are alleged to have violated a Cook County ordinance. The cases the Department of Administrative Hearings presides over are civil in nature and are not criminal proceedings. Many of these cases were previously heard by the Cook County Circuit Court. The proceedings at the Department of Administrative Hearings while not informal are less formal than Circuit Court and court costs and litigation expense are also reduced.

The Department of Administrative Hearings does not investigate, file, prosecute or initiate your case. We are a separate and distinct Department from the Cook County Agency or Department that is making an allegation against you. While the proceedings are less formal than a Circuit Court trial, we nevertheless follow a basic structure to ensure fairness and due process of law. Strict and complex rules of evidence and procedure are not used. The Department of Administrative Hearings avoids the use of complex legal terms and uses plain and easy to understand language. Please visit our Administrative Procedures link for Definitions, Frequently Asked Questions and a guide to our Overall Procedures.

Legal representation is also not required by either party in these proceedings and citizens of Cook County often represent themselves or have a Representative appear on their behalf. For more information, please click here.

Copyright 2010 Cook County DOAH