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OATH Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Help Center

Find More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) by Following the Below Links

Understanding Summonses and Who Needs to Respond

Fighting Summonses at OATH Hearings (In Person Hearings and Remote Hearing Options)

Missed Hearings

Appealing a Hearing Decision After Participating in a Hearing

Penalty Processing, Payments and Mailings

Community Service Option

Licenses / Property



What is the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and its Hearings Division?

OATH is the central administrative law court for the City of New York. The OATH Hearings Division is an independent tribunal that hears and decides cases involving summonses issued by enforcement agencies. OATH is separate from the agencies that issue the summonses.

Cases that were previously heard at the Health Tribunal, Environmental Control Board (ECB), Taxi and Limousine Tribunal (TLT), and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) are now heard at the OATH Hearings Division.


Where can I find the rules concerning hearings at the OATH Hearings Division?

The rules concerning hearings at the OATH Hearings Division are found in Title 48 of the Rules of the City of New York. View the OATH Hearings Division Rules of Practice.


Where can I find information to help me understand some of the terms on the summons or from the hearing?

You can find a Glossary of Legal Terms online in the Help Center section of this website.

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Help Center


What is the Help Center?

The Help Center is a division of OATH that exists to help persons who appear at OATH without a lawyer or representative.


Where can I find the Help Center?

There is a Help Center located at every OATH Hearing Division location. Find OATH Hearing Division Offices.


What services does the Help Center Provide?

The Help Center provides assistance or resources to help respondents prepare for their hearing.  We will help unrepresented persons:

  • Navigate the process at OATH;
  • Understand how to appear for a hearing, appeal a decision, or make a request to open a default
  • Find legal resources where respondents can look up the law that applies to their case.

The Help Center does not provide legal advice or legal representation. Respondents who want to obtain legal representation must do so on their own.


If I reported a violation, can I participate in the hearing?

If you are not the respondent but want to participate in the hearing, you must ask the Hearing Officer conducting the case whether you will be permitted to speak. People who are affected by the outcome of the case may sometimes be allowed to testify during the hearing.


How can I prove that I am not responsible for the charges listed in the summons?

OATH cannot provide legal advice on what evidence will be sufficient to prove that you are not responsible for the charges in the summons. 
You must submit any evidence, documentation, witnesses or other forms of proof at your scheduled hearing date.

For a Hearing by Mail or Hearing Online, you must provide all your evidence by attaching any documents, photographs, or other evidence to your submitted written defense.

For a Hearing by Phone or Video (webcam) Hearing, call the Remote Hearings Unit at 212-436-0817.

What do I need to submit at my hearing? 

The hearing is your chance to present your side of the case. You should be prepared with everything you need to prove your case, including any witnesses, legal or official records, photographs, or other documents. The Hearing Officer can only review evidence or witness statements that are presented during the hearing.


How can I contact the Help Center?

You can contact the Help Center by email.

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What is the Ombudsperson?

The Ombudsperson is an OATH employee who assists unrepresented respondents to understand the hearing process and receive fair treatment. The Ombudsperson also receives and investigates complaints.


What does the Ombudsperson do?

The Ombudsperson seeks to achieve fairness and transparency in OATH's decision-making process by assisting unrepresented respondents with their questions about the hearing procedure and by addressing their concerns. The Ombudsperson identifies procedural issues and common complaints and makes recommendation to improve OATH's practices and procedures.


How do I contact the Ombudsperson?

The Ombudsperson can be contacted by stopping by any Help Center location or by emailing the Ombudsperson at

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