Congress Assigns ACUS Important Responsibility to Oversee Reporting on Attorney’s Fee Awards in Litigation Against Federal Agencies


Contact:  Harry M. Seidman

Washington, D.C., March 13, 2019 - Today, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) announced that it will begin work to carry out its new statutory responsibility to report and maintain a database on attorneys’ fees awards under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).  Under EAJA, federal agencies must reimburse private litigants for their attorneys’ fees when they prevail against agencies in certain adjudications and federal-court cases to which the agency is a party.  This announcement follows President Trump’s signature yesterday of S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act, which incorporates a bill introduced in both the House and Senate known as the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act.

“ACUS welcomes this important assignment from Congress,” said Matthew L. Wiener, ACUS’s Vice Chairman and Executive Director. “I thank the sponsors of the legislation—Representatives Doug Collins and Steve Cohen, and Senators John Barrasso and Chris Coons—for entrusting it to ACUS. I am confident that ACUS will ably discharge its responsibilities and thereby help Congress evaluate how well EAJA is meeting its objectives.”

The Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act appears in § 4201 under the title “Federal Action Transparency.” Its provisions will be codified in Title 5 and Title 28 of the U.S. Code.

About ACUS

ACUS is an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research and providing nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for federal agency procedures. Its membership is composed of senior federal officials, academics, and other experts from the private sector. Except for the Chairman, all ACUS Members are unpaid.

ACUS is committed to promoting effective public participation and efficiency in the rulemaking process by leveraging interactive technologies and encouraging open communication with the public as well as making improvements to the regulatory process by reducing unnecessary litigation, and improving the use of science and the effectiveness of applicable laws. 

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