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Fair Hearing

A judicial proceeding that is conducted in such a manner as to conform to fundamental concepts of justice and equality.

During a fair hearing, authority is exercised according to the principle of DUE PROCESS OF LAW. Fair hearing means that an individual will have an opportunity to present evidence to support his or her case and to discover what evidence exists against him or her.

In CRIMINAL LAW, when an individual is arrested, a fair hearing means the right to be notified of the charge being brought against him or her and the chance to meet that charge.

In order for a hearing to be fair and comply with DUE PROCESS requirements, it must be held before an impartial tribunal; however, a hearing can be unfair without any intention that it be that way. A fair hearing must provide a reasonable opportunity for an individual to be present at the designated time and place, during which time he or she may offer evidence, cross-examine opposition witnesses, and offer a defense. Formalities of a court action need not be strictly complied with in order for a proceeding to be considered a fair hearing.

A fair hearing is not necessarily a fair trial. The hearing might be an administrative one before the Immigration Board or the NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, for example, but fairness is still required.

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