In a March 1992 statement submitted to the Congress, the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs described the impact of judicial review on the Department of Veterans Affairs (Department or VA) as “profound.” That description is still apt and applies with as much force to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board or BVA) as it does to the Department as a whole. Nothing has had as much impact on the Board as the Veterans' Judicial Review Act (VJRA). The VJRA established the United States Court of Veterans Appeals in 1988 and charged it with the review of decisions of the Board. Prior to the VJRA, decisions of the Board were not subject to judicial review, except in very limited circumstances. Judicial review has provided a convenient forum for testing the validity of departmental regulations and settling some long-disputed points of veterans law. It has also helped in establishing a more systematic approach to benefit claims adjudication and in providing a forum for dispute resolution outside the Department to veterans who may feel that VA has not treated them fairly. Nevertheless, these benefits have not been achieved without costs, particularly in increased formality and complexity of the adjudication process and a considerable expansion of the time necessary to render a final decision in a claim.
Charles L. Craigin,
The Impact of Judicial Review on the Department of Veterans Affairs' Claims Adjudication Process: The Changing Role of the Board of Veterans' Appeals,
Me. L. Rev.
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