Welcome from the Honorable Patricia E. Campbell-Smith, Chief Judge

Greetings. On behalf of the United States Court of Federal Claims, welcome to our website.

I would like to direct your attention to the amendments to the Rules of the United States Court of Federal Claims, effective August 1, 2016, and specifically to the changes to Appendix H, “Procedure for Alternative Dispute Resolution.” The changes to the court’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures began as a 2015 proposal from the court’s Advisory Council, which recommended ending the court’s longstanding ADR Automatic Referral Program and replacing it with a more flexible procedure to be controlled in each case by the parties and the assigned judge. After conducting a survey of bar members and researching the use of ADR in other federal courts, the Advisory Council proposed the program you see today in Appendix H. I commend the hours of hard work dedicated to this project by members of the Advisory Council’s Emeritus Committee chaired by Senior Judge Eric G. Bruggink as well as staff in our Clerk’s Office who helped transform the recommendation into a new procedure.

Of note, amended Appendix H does the following:

  • recognizes that a range of ADR techniques may be appropriate in any given case;
  • indicates that if the parties and the assigned judge agree that ADR would be beneficial, the assigned judge will direct the Clerk of Court to assign the case to a judge who serves on the court’s newly established ADR Committee or refer the case to a third-party neutral;
  • reinforces that documents generated for use in ADR proceedings are confidential;
  • establishes that the ADR judge will require the parties to file periodic status reports with the assigned judge during the pendency of the ADR proceeding;
  • allows the Clerk of Court to contact parties involved in ADR proceedings to elicit quantitative data for statistical reporting; and
  • provides additional guidance for the use of ADR in patent and copyright cases.

The court is pleased to usher in a new era of ADR at the court and encourages parties to consider ADR in all appropriate cases.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Senior Judges Bohdan A. Futey and Robert J. Yock who recently completed their 90-day periods of recall service to the court. Over a short period of time, Senior Judges Futey and Yock were able to accomplish important casework in support of the court. Having them return to the bench allowed many of us the opportunity to strengthen our ties to those who have played large roles in shaping our court’s history.

On the topic of court history, next year marks the 35th anniversary of the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, which created our modern court and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, as well as the 30th anniversary of the court’s Office of Special Masters, which was created by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. Befitting these anniversaries, the court has begun planning a two-day gala judicial conference to take place next spring. Stay tuned for conference dates and more information.

Thank you for your interest in the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Patricia E. Campbell-Smith
Chief Judge