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About the Court

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On November 18, 1988, President Reagan signed into law the Veterans' Judicial Review Act (Pub. L. No. 100-687), which established as a court of record the United States Court of Veterans Appeals. Pursuant to the Veterans' Programs Enhancement Act of 1998 (Pub. L. No. 105-368) and effective March 1, 1999, the Court's name was changed to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. As a court of record, the court is part of the United States judiciary and not part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The laws creating and establishing the Court are codified in chapter 72 of title 38, United States Code.

The Court is authorized seven permanent, active Judges, and two additional Judges as part of a temporary expansion provision. Judges generally are appointed for 15-year terms, and each Judge has the option upon retirement to agree to be available for further service as a recall-eligible Senior Judge. During any period of recall service, a Senior Judge has all of the judicial authority and powers of a Judge in active service.

The Court has exclusive jurisdiction over decisions of the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board or BVA). The Court reviews Board decisions appealed by claimants who believe the Board erred in its decision. The Court's review of Board decisions is based on the record before the agency and arguments of the parties, which are presented in a written brief, with oral argument generally held only in cases presenting new legal issues.

The Court's principal office is in Washington, D.C., but the Court is authorized to sit anywhere in the United States and does so a limited number of times each year.

Remember: You must have a final decision from the Board of Veterans' Appeals - not the Regional Office - before you can appeal to this Court.


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