The Division of Administrative Law (DAL) was created in the Department of State Civil Service in 1995 and began operations on October 1, 1996. DAL is Louisiana’s centralized administrative hearings panel.When disputes arise between government agencies and those they regulate, due process hearings should be fair and impartial, convenient to citizens, and conducted professionally. The Division of Administrative Law is independent from the agencies served, preserving fairness and impartiality in the right to administrative review.
The Division of Administrative Law implements thoughtful processes to ensure matters are scheduled without undue delay, parties are treated with dignity and respect, and decisions are timely rendered and processed. Tasking one agency with docketing and conducting administrative hearings allows the Division of Administrative Law to identify and train multiple qualified individuals to manage cases and conduct hearings for many agencies.
Applicable Law and Jurisdiction
DAL was created by La. R.S. 49:991 et seq. Pursuant to La. R.S. 49:992, all adjudications conducted by DAL shall be governed by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (LAC 1:III.101 et seq.) and any statutes specific to the subject matter of the hearing. In addition, La. R.S. 49:999.1 authorizes DAL to provide administrative law judges on a contractual basis to any governmental entity to conduct administrative hearings.
More than two dozen states have enacted legislation creating central panels similar to DAL for the purpose of providing due process hearings. A central panel is an executive branch agency that employs administrative law judges independent from the agencies served. This independence increases public trust and confidence in the administrative process. In the absence of a central panel, the investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial powers granted to an executive branch agency are usually vested in a single agency. Having a central panel focused on providing administrative hearings not only allows for more efficient case management and reduced costs, but also increases public confidence in the meaningfulness of the right to administrative review.
Each year a survey is taken by DAL, sent to administrative hearings central panels from various states, to compare the caseloads, operating costs, and personnel needs, and a chart developed from that data. Each state's jurisdiction is different, and the balance of high and low complexity cases and the types of cases handled varies widely. However, the survey offers a comparison of the operating costs and personnel needs of a statewide centralized administrative hearings court. The information for the nationwide comparison was gathered from responses to a survey conducted during October 2018.
About the Director
Sabra Matheny began her appointment as the Director of the Division of Administrative Law (DAL) in 2022. Director Matheny is dedicated to protecting due process for Louisiana citizens and ensuring that DAL continues to provide the valuable service of conducting impartial hearings for both citizens and government.
Director Matheny is a native of Hammond, Louisiana. After graduating from Hammond High School in 1992, she attended the University of Mississippi where she earned a B.A. in English. She is a proud graduate of Southern University Law Center, class of 2002. Director Matheny began her career as a civil litigator and an Assistant District Attorney in Tangipahoa Parish. She also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the United States Virgin Islands’ Department of Justice from 2006-2007. Director Matheny worked as a public finance attorney in New Orleans, where she has resided since 2007. She served the Division of Administrative Law as an Administrative Law Judge for 12 years prior to her appointment as Director. Director Matheny is married to Dylan Field Turner, a native of Fluker, Louisiana.
Contact Director Matheny