Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 102 Part 5.djvu/102

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PUBLIC LAW 100-000—MMMM. DD, 1988

102 STAT. 4108

PUBLIC LAW 100-687—NOV. 18, 1988

"CHAPTER 51—CLAIMS, EFFECTIVE DATES, AND PAYMENTS". (3) The item relating to subchapter I in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 51 is amended by striking out "APPLICATIONS" and inserting in lieu thereof "CLAIMS". (4) The heading of subchapter I of chapter 51 is amended to read as follows: "SUBCHAPTER I—CLAIMS". SEC. 104. ATTORNEYS FEES.

(a) REVISION OF ATTORNEY FEE LIMITATION.—Section 3404 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking out subsection (c) and inserting in lieu thereof the following: "(c)(1) In connection with a proceeding before the Veterans' Administration with respect to benefits under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration, a fee may not be charged, allowed, or paid for services of agents and attorneys with respect to services provided before the date on which the Board of Veterans' Appeals first makes a final decision in the case. Such a fee may be charged, allowed, or paid in the case of services provided after such date only if an agent or attorney is retained with respect to such case before the end of the one-year period beginning on that date. The limitation in the preceding sentence does not apply to services provided with respect to proceedings before a court. "(2) A person who, acting as agent or attorney in a case referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, represents a person before the Veterans' Administration or the Board of Veterans' Appeals after the Board first makes a final decision in the Case shall file a copy of any fee agreement between them with the Board at such time as may be specified by the Board. The Board, upon its own motion or the request of either party, may review such a fee agreement and may order a reduction in the fee called for in the agreement if the Board finds that the fee is excessive or unreasonable. A finding or order of the Board under the preceding sentence may be reviewed by the United States Court of Veterans Appeals under section 4063(d) of this title. "(d)(1) When a claimant and an attorney have entered into a fee agreement described in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the total fee payable to the attorney may not exceed 20 percent of the total amount of any past-due benefits awarded on the basis of the claim. "(2)(A) A fee agreement referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection is one under which (i) the amount of the fee payable to the attorney is to be paid to the attorney by the Administrator directly from any past-due benefits awarded on the basis of the claim, and (ii) the amount of the fee is contingent on whether or not the matter is resolved in a manner favorable to the claimant. "(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, a claim shall be considered to have been resolved in a manner favorable to the claimant if all or any part of the relief sought is granted. "(3) To the extent that past-due benefits are awarded in any proceeding before the Administrator, the Board of Veterans' Appeals, or the United States Court of Veterans Appeals, the Administrator may direct that payment of any attorneys' fee under a fee arrangement described in paragraph (1) of this subsection be made out of such past-due benefits. In no event may the Administrator