This Question and Answer document is specific to impartial hearing officers (IHOs) and the impartial hearings that they conduct under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It does not cover the IHO’s remedial authority, which is the subject of separate comprehensive coverage. The sources are limited to the pertinent IDEA legislation and regulations, court decisions and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education’s (OSEP) policy letters that the author’s research has revealed. Thus, the answers are subject to revision or qualification based on 1) applicable state laws; 2) additional legal sources beyond those cited; and 3) independent interpretation of the cited and additional pertinent legal sources. The items are organized into various subject categories within two successive broad groups—hearing officer issues and hearing/decision issues.
Note: this reflects the contemporary state of relevant laws and regulations as of December 31, 2012.