38 CFR § 14.503 - Requests for legal advice and assistance in other than domestic relations matters.

§ 14.503 Requests for legal advice and assistance in other than domestic relations matters.

(a) Requests from administrative officials in the field for legal advice or assistance will be addressed to the appropriate Regional Counsel and will be in writing if requested by the Regional Counsel. Questions regarding insurance activities at St. Paul and Philadelphia should be referred to the Regional Counsel at the respective station. Except as to matters referred to in § 14.504(b), the Regional Counsel's authority to render legal advice and assistance shall extend to the release (unless otherwise instructed by the General Counsel), without prior approval of the General Counsel, of opinions on all legal questions which are either:

(1) Wholly controlled by the interpretation or application of the laws of the State or States in the district office area, or

(2) Covered by Department of Veterans Affairs precedents and opinions of the General Counsel which the Regional Counsel knows to be currently authoritative on the issues involved.

In cases covered by § 14.504(b) and all others not included in paragraph (a)(1) or (2) or paragraph (b) of this section, the Regional Counsel will prepare a tentative opinion (including identification of the benefit sought) and forward it to the General Counsel for review. When it is returned, the Regional Counsel will conform the opinion (if necessary) to the views of the General Counsel, and release it to the requesting official. The Regional Counsel may release any modified opinion as the opinion of the General Counsel.

(b) The Regional Counsel may submit to the General Counsel any legal question, opinion, or question pertinent to legal functions, upon which the views or advice of the General Counsel are desired. This request should set forth the special circumstances, contain a statement of the legal implications involved (including any Department of Veterans Affairs benefits claimed), set forth the facts out of which they arise, and cite any statutes or court decisions readily available, regulations, related opinions of the General Counsel and other matters deemed pertinent, with appropriate discussion. If any administration will be affected, a copy of the reply will be forwarded to that administration head.

[42 FR 41411, Aug. 17, 1977, as amended at 54 FR 34982, Aug. 23, 1989]