The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) Docket Explained
Christian McTarnaghan: Hi everyone! Welcome to CCK Live Under 5:00. I’m Christian McTarnaghan, and today, I’m going to be explaining what the docket is at the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
So first, let’s just hit an overview of the CAVC. So, CAVC is just an acronym for the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. When you get a Board decision and you disagree with it, you don’t like what the Board did, you have the right to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, or the CAVC. But you only have 120 days to do it. So, you need to make sure you get that appeal filed within that 120 days.
So, when you file an appeal of a Board decision, the veteran or a claimant is essentially taken legal action against the Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. So, once you file that appeal, the case transfers to the CAVC, it’s no longer under the jurisdiction of the VA.
The Court is a federal court that was set up by Congress to oversee the decisions of the Secretary, final decisions by the Secretary. And once you file an appeal it becomes a federal case, right? You’ve heard the expression don’t make a federal case out of it. But when you file an appeal to CAVC, you have.
So, the CAVC does three basic things. It affirms the Board decision, finds that the Board didn’t do anything wrong, it reverses the Board decision. Something that the Board said was incorrect. So, they reverse that finding or they reverse denial of service connection. Doesn’t happen very often, but it can. And most often it vacates and remans the Board’s decision. So, it says, “Board, you did this, this, this wrong. Here you go, take the case back and issue a new decision that’s compliant with the law and doesn’t make these same mistakes.”
So, I said I was going to talk about the docket. So, here’s what the docket is. Once you file an appeal by submitting that Notice of Appeal within 120 days, you get placed on the CAVC’s docket.
So, the docket is the Court’s record of what’s gone on in the case and also the schedule of proceedings. So, it determines the order in which the appeals will be decided, and it also determines how the case is going to go. So, it’s important to know though that your docket number is not your VA claims file number. It’s not the Board’s docket number either. It’s a separate docket number that’s assigned specifically to your Court case.
So, after the case is added to the docket, the Court issues a Notice of Docketing to everyone involved in the case. So, if you’re representing yourself, to you and to VA, if you have an advocate, I practice at Court, so would send it to me for my clients.
And you can search for your docket number. So, you know, if you’re working with an advocate, they should tell you what your docket number is. If you’re, you know, representing yourself, you can go to the Court’s website and you can search for your docket number to see what’s going on in your case.
So, I said this was going to be under five minutes. I intend to keep that promise. So, for more information on the CAVC and how to appeal, check out our blog and other YouTube videos that we have, and also be sure to request a copy of our downloadable eBook about the process and timelines at the CAVC. And thank you for joining us.
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