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The Formal Hearing Process



A formal hearing is an impartial hearing conducted pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act and the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules’ Administrative Hearing Rules



  • A formal hearing is scheduled for one of two reasons:

    1) either you elect to go directly to a formal contested case hearing, bypassing the option to engage in a compliance conference or prehearing conference


    2) you fail to timely respond to the initiating order or formal complaint.

  • If you decide to not to participate in a compliance conference or a prehearing meeting, you may elect to proceed directly to a contested case hearing. When this option is selected, the Bureau will request a hearing date from the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules. The Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules will serve you with a Notice of Hearing setting forth the date, time, and place of the hearing. Presently, all hearings are scheduled by telephone by default. 
  • If the Bureau does not receive a response to a formal complaint or an initiating order and a formal hearing is required before a final order may be issued, the Bureau will request a hearing date with the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules.
  • An administrative law judge (ALJ) employed by the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules will preside over the formal hearing. The Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules is presently scheduling all formal hearings by telephone by default. The Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau will be represented by an attorney. You may also be represented by an attorney at your own expense. At the formal hearing, both parties may call witnesses and introduce documentary evidence. The ALJ will set deadlines, schedule any additional hearing dates, and rule on any motions or objections. You will not know the outcome of an evidentiary hearing until the ALJ issues either a “proposal for decision” or a “hearing report,” which are addressed below. 
  • If neither you nor an attorney on your behalf appears at the formal hearing, a default could be entered against you. A  default means that all of the allegations in the formal complaint or initiating order are found true, and, depending on the statute involved, you may be assessed the administrative costs of the proceeding on top of a fine and other licensing sanctions. 
  • After the formal hearing, the presiding ALJ will issue either a hearing report or a proposal for decision, depending on the statutes at issue in the proceeding. 
  • Under the Unarmed Combat Regulatory Act and the Occupational Code, a hearing report is issued containing findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Hearing Report will be reviewed by the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission or the Board of Examiners in Mortuary Science at one of the Commission’s or Board’s regularly scheduled meetings. Neither the Commission nor the Board may modify the findings of fact or conclusions of law but will determine the appropriate licensing penalties. You may access the agenda for the Commission’s and Board’s meetings and the Commission’s and Board’s meeting schedule at the following websites: and
  • Under most of the statutes administered by the Corporation, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau, a proposal for decision is issued with proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Director of the Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau is the final decision maker and may modify the findings of fact and conclusions of law in a final order. A proposal for decision also allows both parties to file written exceptions to it and a response to the exceptions within the time frame set specified in the proposal for decision.