The United States Court of Federal Claims (COFC) was recreated pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution in October of 1982, by the Federal Courts Improvement Act. The Court consists of sixteen judges nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a term of fifteen years. The Court hears non-tort monetary claims against U.S. Government. The United States Court of Federal Claims is situated on Madison Place in Washington D.C.
The court exercises nationwide jurisdiction over various money claims against the United States. It also conducts proceedings in other courts around the country for the convenience of the parties. In addition, the court makes extensive use of alternative dispute resolution.
The main functions of the Court are:
- To review agency decisions under various federal compensation programs.
- To advise Congress, when requested, on private relief bills.
- To hear suits on government contracts, Constitutional claims, tax refunds, Indian claims, civilian and military pay claims, patent and copyright matters, and vaccine injury claims.
- To accommodate litigants, trials may be held at local courthouses where the disputes arise.
- To hear congressional reference cases (cases referred by house of congress to the court). The hearing officer (judge) will submit a report to a panel of judges who will review and forward the report to the chamber of Congress.
- Special Jurisdiction, to hear claims for money arising from the United States Constitution, federal statutes, executive regulations or an express or implied in fact contract (form of implied contract)
with the United States Government.
- To exercise Concurrent Jurisdiction in matters involving, contracts with the Federal government. In this a contractor has the option of choosing between filing suit within one year with the court or within 90 days before the agency Board of Contract Appeals.
- To exercise Concurrent Jurisdiction with US district Courts when the claim is for less than $10,000.
All trials at the court are bench trials (trials without jury). The court only hears cases against the Government and the United States is always the defendant in cases before the COFC. Judgments of the court may be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.