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Prepare for the Hearing

Video About Hearings

Watch the hearing preparation video on “How to Prepare for a Hearing.” The video is subtitled in English, Italian, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Polish, and Bengali.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Do I need an attorney to represent me at the hearing?

You do not have to be represented by an attorney, but you can have an attorney or registered representative to represent you at the hearing. Representing you means that person will ask questions of witnesses, including you, present documents and other evidence, conduct cross examination of opposing witnesses, object to the admission of documents into the record, and make a closing statement. 


I need more time to find an attorney or a representative.

You should alert the hearing office or the Administrative Law Judge. The Administrative Law Judge may close the hearing and allow you to apply to reopen the hearing when you are ready.


Can I have someone else with me at the hearing?

Yes, but you must tell the Administrative Law Judge who is with you.

If that person is your representative, they will ask questions of witnesses including you, ask the Administrative Law Judge any questions, and make a closing statement.

You may also have a witness who knows some of the facts in the case because they were present at the important events. A witness will need to be sequestered, or separated, until it is their turn to testify.

A person may be both a witness and a representative.

You may also have an observer at the hearing. An observer is someone who will listen to the hearing but not participate as a representative or witness.

You are responsible for giving a copy of the hearing packet to your attorney or representative.


Does the UIAB provide or recommend attorneys?

The Board does not provide or recommend attorneys for you, but it does maintain a list of attorneys and other persons and organizations that represent claimants. This list can be accessed using the link below. Claimants may be charged a fee for the services provided by an attorney or other representative, but only if the decision goes in the claimant’s favor and only after the Board approves the fee. The list also includes organizations that provide legal services for free.

Hearing Case Packet

What is the hearing packet?

The hearing packet contains documents used by the Department of Labor in reaching its determination. These documents may include Department of Labor forms, questionnaires, or written statements completed by the claimant or the employer and/or summaries of telephone interviews prepared by a Department of Labor representative. The hearing file may also contain documents sent in by the claimant or the employer prior to the hearing. Nothing in the hearing file may be used by the Administrative Law Judge in the decision unless it is introduced as evidence at the hearing.  If you would like a document to be considered as evidence, you must make a request to the Administrative Law Judge

If the packet did not come with the hearing notice, immediately call the hearing office at the phone number listed on the top of the hearing notice, and a new copy will be sent to you. You should also have the packet with you if you meet with an attorney or representative.

The documents in the packet will have page numbers, usually in the lower right-hand corner. Keep the documents in the same order they were in when you received the packet. This will allow you to find a document quickly during the hearing.

Make sure you have the packet with you at the hearing.


I lost my hearing packet.

Call the hearing office as soon as possible before your hearing. They may be able to send you another hearing packet or an electronic copy. The hearing office phone number is on the top of the Notice of Hearing.

Witnesses and Evidence

If you have a witness, arrange for them to appear.

It is important that you speak with any witnesses that can help your case and arrange for them to be available by phone at the time of your hearing. Provide your witness with the login information for the hearing. Let them know to log in at the beginning of the hearing and that they should remain available throughout the hearing. The hearing may take as long as an hour or more. If your witness is only available for a limited period of time, make sure to tell the Administrative Law Judge at the beginning of the hearing.


What if I cannot get the witnesses or documents that I need, or I have a witness who is not available on the day of the hearing?

Be prepared to testify and present as much evidence as you can  at the hearing. Explain to the Administrative Law Judge who the witness is or what the documents are, why the witness is not available that day, and why you believe the witness or document is necessary. If the Administrative Law Judge decides that the missing evidence is necessary, the hearing can be adjourned (postponed) and rescheduled to a later date, or it can be closed with the right to apply to reopen. If necessary, the Administrative Law Judge may also issue a subpoena to help you get the document or witness. 


Can I send documents that help my case to the judge before the hearing?

You should mail or fax documents which you believe are important to your case hearing office at the top of the Notice of Hearing. The documents should arrive at the hearing office at least three days before the date of the hearing. Be sure to include your name, your case number, and your contact information, including your phone number. You should also have a copy of the documents with you at the hearing.

If you are unable to send the documents in advance, the Administrative Law Judge may ask if you can email or fax the documents to the Administrative Law Judge and to the other party during the hearing. If you are not able to send the documents during the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge may ask why you did not send in the documents before the hearing and may decide to adjourn the hearing to allow time to receive the documents. 


Can I submit witness statements?

Yes, but witness statements are considered hearsay testimony.  Firsthand witnesses (witnesses who actually saw or heard the events that are at issue in the hearing) are much more important than documents describing what happened or witnesses who can only repeat what they were told by another person. 


Can I submit text messages or play a video or audio recording that is important to my case?

Yes. Print or screenshot the text messages before the hearing, then mail or fax the messages to the Administrative Law Judge and to the other party before the hearing.

If you want the Administrative Law Judge to consider a video or audio recording, you must make copies for the Administrative Law Judge and other parties. The hearing notice will include a list of the formats that may be used.


Can I request that the other party produce evidence prior to the hearing?

No.  You cannot request that the other party provide evidence before the hearing. The hearing packet you will receive in the mail contains the documents that the Department relied on to make its determination. If you believe the other party has other documents that may be necessary for you to prove your case, contact the hearing office and let them know the documents you wish to have produced and why they are necessary. The Administrative Law Judge will address the request at the hearing. 


What is a subpoena?

A subpoena is a legal paper that orders a witness to come to the hearing or orders a company or an individual to send documents to the Administrative Law Judge for the hearing. 


How do I request a subpoena?

If you have an attorney, the attorney may issue the subpoena on your behalf. If you do not have an attorney, you may contact the hearing office by fax or mail as indicated on the top of your hearing notice if you believe you need a subpoena.

Be sure to include your name, case number, and the name and address of the person or the company whose records that you want to have subpoenaed, why you cannot bring the witness or evidence on your own, and what you believe the witness or evidence would prove.

Your request may be granted, or you may be told to make your request directly to the Administrative Law Judge at the hearing.

Listen To Prior Hearings

May I listen to the recording of a prior hearing that I did not attend?

You have the right to listen to recordings of any previous hearings in your case. You can request a recording of the hearing   by calling the hearing office at the telephone number shown at the top of the notice of hearing.

More Preparation Information

Our website includes links to the Unemployment Insurance law and other legal resources. Also, there is a link to a searchable database of Appeal Board decisions going back to 2008. You may mention past decisions that help your case at the hearing. 

More Questions and Answers