Happy birthday, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims!
The nine-member court this month is celebrating its 25th anniversary, which dates to passage of the Veteran's Judicial Review Act in 1988. Since then, court officials note the specialized panel has heard more than 60,000 appeals of veterans claims decisions.
"Before the court was created, generations of veterans dissatisfied with VA decisions had no judicial forum in which to challenge VA's administrative rulings," court officials noted in a statement.
In Fiscal 2012, a toal of 3,649 appeals were filed with the court, according to the court's annual report. Of these 44 percent were filed pro se, by appellants representing themselves. That's a lot, but it's less than it used to be. In 2000, 77 percent of the appeals were filed by veterans representing themselves.
"The court's bench and bar have worked to significantly lower the number of veterans who appeal pro se before the court," the court noted.
The veterans appeals court will mark its anniversary with a private ceremonial session in its courtroom on Nov. 20.