28 U.S. Code § 519 - Supervision of litigation
Except as otherwise authorized by law, the Attorney General shall supervise all litigation to which the United States, an agency, or officer thereof is a party, and shall direct all United States attorneys, assistant United States attorneys, and special attorneys appointed under section 543 of this title in the discharge of their respective duties.
Historical and Revision Notes
Revised Statutes and
Statutes at Large
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 “or officer” are added for clarity and to align this section with section 516 which is of similar import.
The words “special attorneys appointed under section 543” are substituted for “attorneys appointed under section 543” to reflect the revision of this title.
Pub. L. 108–177, title III, § 341(b), Dec. 13, 2003, 117 Stat. 2616, as amended by Pub. L. 108–458, title I, § 1071(g)(3)(A)(v), Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3692; Pub. L. 109–177, title V, § 506(a)(9), Mar. 9, 2006, 120 Stat. 248, provided that:
Pub. L. 96–132, § 11, Nov. 30, 1979, 93 Stat. 1047, required the Attorney General, not later than Apr. 15, 1980, after consultation with the Director of the Executive Office of United States Attorneys and such Assistant Attorneys as appropriate, to prepare and submit to the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives a plan for the activation and coordination, within the Department of Justice, of compatible, comprehensive case management information and tracking systems for each of the judicial districts of the United States and for each of the divisions of the Department.
Pub. L. 96–132, § 21, Nov. 30, 1979, 93 Stat. 1049, required the Attorney General, during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1980, to transmit a report to each House of Congress in any case in which the Attorney General considered the provisions of law enacted by the Congress and at issue to be unconstitutional and in such cases required a representative of the Department of Justice participating in such case to make a declaration that such opinion of the Attorney General regarding the constitutionality of those provisions of law involved constitutes the opinion of the executive branch of the government with respect to such matter.
Pub. L. 95–624, § 17, Nov. 9, 1978, 92 Stat. 3465, provided that the Attorney General undertake a study and make recommendations concerning violations of Federal criminal laws which have not been prosecuted and present such study and recommendations to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives not later than Oct. 1, 1979.
Ex. Ord. No. 12778, Oct. 23, 1991, 56 F.R. 55195, which prescribed guidelines for promotion of just and efficient Government civil litigation and set forth principles for enactment of legislation and promulgation of regulations which did not unduly burden the Federal court system and for promotion of just and efficient administrative adjudications, was revoked by Ex. Ord. No. 12988, § 12, Feb. 5, 1996, 61 F.R. 4734, set out below.
Ex. Ord. No. 12988, Feb. 5, 1996, 61 F.R. 4729, provided:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and in order to improve access to justice for all persons who wish to avail themselves of court and administrative adjudicatory tribunals to resolve disputes, to facilitate the just and efficient resolution of civil claims involving the United States Government, to encourage the filing of only meritorious civil claims, to improve legislative and regulatory drafting to reduce needless litigation, to promote fair and prompt adjudication before administrative tribunals, and to provide a model for similar reforms of litigation practices in the private sector and in various states, it is hereby ordered as follows:
(1) Whenever feasible, claims should be resolved through informal discussions, negotiations, and settlements rather than through utilization of any formal court proceeding. Where the benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) may be derived, and after consultation with the agency referring the matter, litigation counsel should suggest the use of an appropriate ADR technique to the parties.
(2) It is appropriate to use ADR techniques or processes to resolve claims of or against the United States or its agencies, after litigation counsel determines that the use of a particular technique is warranted in the context of a particular claim or claims, and that such use will materially contribute to the prompt, fair, and efficient resolution of the claims.
(3) To facilitate broader and effective use of informal and formal ADR methods, litigation counsel should be trained in ADR techniques.
(1) Litigation counsel shall evaluate filings made by opposing parties and, where appropriate, shall petition the court to impose sanctions against those responsible for abusive practices.
(2) Prior to filing a motion for sanctions, litigation counsel shall submit the motion for review to the sanctions officer, or his or her designee, within the litigation counsel’s agency. Such officer or designee shall be a senior supervising attorney within the agency, and shall be licensed to practice law before a State court, courts of the District of Columbia, or courts of any territory or Commonwealth of the United States. The sanctions officer or designee shall also review motions for sanctions that are filed against litigation counsel, the United States, its agencies, or its officers.
(1) making reasonable efforts to negotiate with other parties about, and stipulate to, facts that are not in dispute;
(2) reviewing and revising pleadings and other filings to ensure that they are accurate and that they reflect a narrowing of issues, if any, that has resulted from discovery;
(3) requesting early trial dates where practicable;
(4) moving for summary judgment in every case where the movant would be likely to prevail, or where the motion is likely to narrow the issues to be tried; and
(5) reviewing and revising pleadings and other filings to ensure that unmeritorious threshold defenses and jurisdictional arguments, resulting in unnecessary delay, are not raised.
(1) The agency’s proposed legislation and regulations shall be reviewed by the agency to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity;
(2) The agency’s proposed legislation and regulations shall be written to minimize litigation; and
(3) The agency’s proposed legislation and regulations shall provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard, and shall promote simplification and burden reduction.
(1) that the legislation, as appropriate—
(A) specifies whether all causes of action arising under the law are subject to statutes of limitations;
(B) specifies in clear language the preemptive effect, if any, to be given to the law;
(C) specifies in clear language the effect on existing Federal law, if any, including all provisions repealed, circumscribed, displaced, impaired, or modified;
(D) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct;
(E) specifies whether private arbitration and other forms of private dispute resolution are appropriate under enforcement and relief provisions; subject to constitutional requirements;
(F) specifies whether the provisions of the law are severable if one or more of them is found to be unconstitutional;
(G) specifies in clear language the retroactive effect, if any, to be given to the law;
(H) specifies in clear language the applicable burdens of proof;
(I) specifies in clear language whether it grants private parties a right to sue and, if so, the relief available and the conditions and terms for authorized awards of attorney’s fees, if any;
(J) specifies whether State courts have jurisdiction under the law and, if so, whether and under what conditions an action would be removable to Federal court;
(K) specifies whether administrative proceedings are to be required before parties may file suit in court and, if so, describes those proceedings and requires the exhaustion of administrative remedies;
(L) sets forth the standards governing the assertion of personal jurisdiction, if any;
(M) defines key statutory terms, either explicitly or by reference to other statutes that explicitly define those terms;
(N) specifies whether the legislation applies to the Federal Government or its agencies;
(O) specifies whether the legislation applies to States, territories, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and of the Northern Mariana Islands;
(P) specifies what remedies are available such as money damages, civil penalties, injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees; and
(Q) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship of legislation set forth by the Attorney General, with the concurrence of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) and after consultation with affected agencies, that are determined to be in accordance with the purposes of this order.
(2) that the regulation, as appropriate—
(A) specifies in clear language the preemptive effect, if any, to be given to the regulation;
(B) specifies in clear language the effect on existing Federal law or regulation, if any, including all provisions repealed, circumscribed, displaced, impaired, or modified;
(C) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard, while promoting simplification and burden reduction;
(D) specifies in clear language the retroactive effect, if any, to be given to the regulation;
(E) specifies whether administrative proceedings are to be required before parties may file suit in court and, if so, describes those proceedings and requires the exhaustion of administrative remedies;
(F) defines key terms, either explicitly or by reference to other regulations or statutes that explicitly define those items; and
(G) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship of regulations set forth by the Attorney General, with the concurrence of the Director of OMB and after consultation with affected agencies, that are determined to be in accordance with the purposes of this order.
(a) The Attorney General shall coordinate efforts by Federal agencies to implement sections 1, 2 and 4 of this order.
(b) To implement the principles and purposes announced by this order, the Attorney General is authorized to issue guidelines implementing sections 1 and 4 of this order for the Department of Justice. Such guidelines shall serve as models for internal guidelines that may be issued by other agencies pursuant to this order.
(a) The term “agency” shall be defined as that term is defined in section 105 of title 5, United States Code.
(b) The term “litigation counsel” shall be defined as the trial counsel or the office in which such trial counsel is employed, such as the United States Attorney’s Office for the district in which the litigation is pending or a litigating division of the Department of Justice. Special Assistant United States Attorneys are included within this definition. Those agencies authorized by law to represent themselves in court without assistance from the Department of Justice are also included in this definition, as are private counsel hired by any Federal agency to conduct litigation on behalf of the agency or the United States.
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