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Internal Operating Procedures
Screening Process

United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Internal Operating Procedures

I.  Screening Process 

(a) Duties of the Central Legal Staff (CLS) and Public Office.

  • (1) After a case is filed with the Court and the record of proceedings is transmitted, as appropriate, the Public Office so notifies CLS.

  • (2) When an appellant is represented in an appeal, CLS generally holds a conference with the parties to discuss the issues and encourage joint resolution of the appeal, in whole or in part. In appropriate circumstances, CLS also may hold a conference when the appellant is pro se or on matters other than the merits of the appeal, such as on record disputes, petitions for extraordinary writs, or attorney fee disputes.

  • (3) When joint resolution of the entire case cannot be reached at conference or otherwise, CLS generally provides an evaluation of the case and a memorandum addressing the issues and possible disposition. Generally, the case is then assigned by the Public Office on a rotational basis to a Judge for screening.

    • (A) Any subsequent appeal of a Board decision on a matter previously remanded by a single Judge generally is referred to the author Judge of the remanded decision. See Section III(b)(1), below.

    • (B) If a Judge grants a motion to expedite, or denies a motion to file a late brief, that case generally is assigned to that Judge for screening. See Section IX(a)(2)(B), below.

    • (C) Any petition related to a case already acted upon by a Judge or a panel generally is assigned to that Judge or the author Judge of the panel (or one of the other panel members based on seniority, if the author Judge is not available). See Section XI(a), below.

    • (D) Separate rosters for rotational assignment of a case to a Judge in regular active service are maintained for appeals, petitions, and motions.

    • (E) Based upon their limited availability, Senior Judges generally are assigned cases identified by CLS as not likely meeting the criteria for cases appropriate for panel consideration. See Section II(b)(2), below. Cases are assigned to Senior Judges on a rotational basis.

  • (4) CLS attorneys may be assigned to assist a Senior Judge directly in the review of cases and preparation of orders or memorandum decisions.

(b) Duties of the Screening Judge.

  • (1) The screening Judge reviews the case and determines whether the matter warrants single-judge decision, panel decision, or en banc review.

  • (2) The Court has adopted the standard enumerated in Frankel v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 23 (1990), to decide whether matters should be decided by a panel or by a single Judge. If the screening Judge determines that a matter is of relative simplicity and panel decision is not warranted under Frankel, then a single Judge may affirm, reverse, modify, set aside, vacate, or remand the decision of the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board).

  • (3) If the screening Judge determines that a case is appropriate for single-judge disposition, the screening Judge assumes responsibility for the decision and proceeds in accordance with Section II, below. A request for oral argument generally is not granted for cases deemed appropriate for single-judge disposition.

  • (4) If the screening Judge in regular active service determines that the case is appropriate for panel consideration, the Judge requests that the Clerk create a panel composed of the screening Judge and two additional Judges in regular active service selected at random and the matter proceeds in accordance with Section V, below.

  • (5) If a screening Judge in regular active service determines that en banc review is warranted, the screening Judge and CLS follow the procedure in Section VII(b)(2), below.

  • (6) If a Senior Judge determines that a case likely is appropriate for panel or full Court consideration, the matter generally is returned to CLS for reassignment to a Judge in regular active service.