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Internal Operating Procedures
Applications for Attorney Fees and Expenses

United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Internal Operating Procedures


XII. Applications for Attorney Fees and Expenses


(a) Procedure. After the filing of an application for award of attorney fees and expenses, the Secretary's response, and any reply, the Public Office notifies CLS that action is required. CLS evaluates the contested case and, in most instances, drafts a memorandum recommending a particular disposition of the application. The memorandum, application, response, reply, and any other pertinent documents are then sent to the assigned Judge or panel. If reasonableness of the requested fee is the only contested issue, CLS conducts a conference with the parties to attempt to resolve the disagreement. All actions relating to an application will carry the designation "(E)" after the docket number.


(b) Judge or Panel Assignment.


  • (1) Single Judge. If the Judge who decided the underlying appeal or petition is available, the application is assigned to that Judge. If the Judge who decided the underlying appeal or petition is not available, a Judge is assigned in the normal process. The assigned Judge serves as the screening Judge on the matter.

  • (2) Panel.


    • (A) If a panel issued the underlying decision, the application is assigned to the author Judge of the panel if he or she is still serving in regular active status. If the author Judge is not available, the application is assigned to another available member of the panel serving in regular active status, based on seniority. If none of the original panel Judges is available, the application is assigned in the normal process.

    • (B) If the assigned Judge determines panel consideration is appropriate, or if the single-judge decision is called to panel on circulation, the application is assigned to the same panel that decided the underlying matter, with Judges assigned as needed, in the normal process.

(c) Bifurcated Applications. In the interest of judicial efficiency, if some but not all issues in a case have been disposed of and a judgment has been entered, a timely application pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2412 for attorney fees and expenses regarding those issues normally is held in abeyance until all issues on appeal have been resolved and an application for attorney fees and expenses for the remainder of the appeal is timely received or the time for such an application has elapsed. This does not prevent the parties from settling the initial application without judicial intervention.


(d) Finality. Once final action has been taken on an application, judgment and mandate in connection with the application are entered in accordance with the Court's Rules of Practice and Procedure. This is done in addition to the judgment and mandate associated with disposition of the merits of the case.

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