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28 U.S. Code § 516 - Conduct of litigation reserved to Department of Justice

Except as otherwise authorized by law, the conduct of litigation in which the United States, an agency, or officer thereof is a party, or is interested, and securing evidence therefor, is reserved to officers of the Department of Justice, under the direction of the Attorney General.

(Added Pub. L. 89–554, § 4(c), Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 613.)

Historical and Revision Notes


U.S. Code

Revised Statutes and

Statutes at Large

5 U.S.C. 306.

R.S. § 361.



Sept. 3, 1954, ch. 1263, § 11, 68 Stat. 1229.

The section is revised to express the effect of the law. As agency heads have long employed, with the approval of Congress, attorneys to advise them in the conduct of their official duties, the first 56 words of R.S. § 361 and of former section 306 of title 5 are omitted as obsolete.

The section concentrates the authority for the conduct of litigation in the Department of Justice. The words “Except as otherwise authorized by law,” are added to provide for existing and future exceptions (e.g., section 1037 of title 10). The words “an agency” are added for clarity and to align this section with section 519 which is of similar import. The words “as such officer” are omitted as unnecessary since it is implied that the officer is a party in his official capacity as an officer.

So much as prohibits the employment of counsel, other than in the Department of Justice, to conduct litigation is omitted as covered by R.S. § 365, which is codified in section 3106 of title 5, United States Code.