(a) The testimony of VA personnel as witnesses, particularly as expert witnesses, and the production of VA records in legal proceedings subject to §§ 14.800 through 14.810 are services which convey special benefits to the individuals or entities seeking such testimony or production of records above and beyond those accruing to the general public. These services are not regularly received by or available without charge to the public at large. Consequently, these are the sort of services for which the VA may establish a charge for providing under 31 U.S.C. 9701. The responsible VA official will determine all fees associated with §§ 14.800 through 14.810, and shall timely notify the requester of the fees, particularly those which are to be paid in advance.
(1) When a request is granted under § 14.808 to permit VA personnel to testify in whole or in part as to expert, opinion or policy matters, the requester shall pay to the government a fee calculated to reimburse the cost of providing the witness. The fee shall include:
(i) Costs of the time expended by VA personnel to process and respond to the demand or request;
(ii) Costs of attorney time expended in reviewing the demand or request and any information located in connection with the demand or request;
(iii) Expenses generated by materials and equipment used to search for, produce, and copy the responsive information;
(iv) The cost of the time expended by the witness to prepare to testify; and
(v) Costs of travel by the witness and attendance at trial.
(2) All costs for documents necessary for such expert testimony shall be calculated as provided in VA regulations implementing the fee provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.
(c) When an individual testifies in legal proceedings covered by these regulations in any capacity other than as an expert witness, the requester shall pay to the witness the fee and expenses prescribed for attendance by the applicable rule of court. If no such fee is prescribed, the applicable Federal rule, such as a local Federal district court rule, will apply. No additional fee will be prescribed for the time spent while testifying or in attendance to do so.
(d) When a requester wishes to interview VA personnel as part of legal proceedings covered by these regulations, and such interview has been approved in accordance with these regulations, the requester shall pay a fee calculated upon the total hourly pay of the individual interviewed.
(e) When VA produces records in legal proceedings pursuant to §§ 14.800 through 14.810, the fees to be charged and paid prior to production of the records shall be the fees charged by VA under its regulations implementing the fee provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.
(f) Fees shall be paid as follows:
(1) Fees for copies of documents, blueprints, electronic tapes, or other VA records will be paid to the VA office or station providing the records, and covered to the General Fund of the Department of the Treasury.
(2) Witness fees for testimony shall be paid to the witness, who shall endorse the check “pay to the United States,” and surrender it to his or her supervisor. It shall thereafter be deposited in the General Fund.
(3) The private party requesting a VA witness shall forward in advance necessary round trip tickets and all requisite travel and per diem funds.
(g) A waiver of any fees in connection with the testimony of an expert witness may be granted by the appropriate VA official at the official's discretion provided that the waiver is in the interest of the United States. Fee waivers shall not be routinely granted, nor shall they be granted under circumstances which might create the appearance that the VA or the United States favors one party or a position advocated by a party to the legal proceeding.