Hearing (law)

In law, a hearing is a proceeding before a court or other decision-making body or officer, such as a government agency[1] or a legislative committee.[2]

United States' National Transportation Safety Board hearing in 2017, covering the causes to a deHavilland Otter crash in 2015.

A hearing is generally distinguished from a trial in that it is usually shorter and often less formal.[1] In the course of litigation, hearings are conducted as oral arguments in support of motions, whether to resolve the case without further trial on a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment, or to decide discrete issues of law, such as the admissibility of evidence, that will determine how the trial proceeds. Limited evidence and testimony may also be presented in hearings to supplement the legal arguments.[1]



A hearing is a part of the court process in Australia. There are different types of hearing in a case, in general, there are mentions, where a case first is heard in court, a directions hearing which attempts to resolve issues in dispute between the parties, and a contest mention where disputed issues are resolved, this is the part of the hearing where evidence is adduced (although it can be adduced at an earlier stage in the trial).[3]

United States

Picture from the Berry confirmation hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rm. 342.

In the United States, one aspect of the "due process revolution" is that many administrative decisions that were once made much less formally must now be preceded by a hearing. An important step in this development was the Supreme Court decision in Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254 (1970). There the Court held that an agency could not terminate a recipient's welfare benefits without a pre-termination hearing. The decision also illustrated that what constitutes a "hearing" can depend on the context. In Goldberg, the goal of a speedy decision was held to "justify the limitation of the pre-termination hearing to minimum procedural safeguards," which included such basic matters as the right to appear and to cross-examine witnesses, but did not include "a complete record and a comprehensive opinion".

See also


  1. Lorch, Robert (1980). Democratic Process and Administrative Law. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1513-5.
  2. "Sorry, we can't find that page". www.politics.ox.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 2016-07-11. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  3. https://www.childrenscourt.vic.gov.au/jurisdictions/child-protection/court-processes/hearing-types