Awards of Attorneys’ Fees, and More from CRS

03.26.07 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Last year a federal court ruled (pdf) in favor of the Federation of American Scientists in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, finding that the National Reconnaissance Office had unlawfully withheld certain unclassified budget records from disclosure.

Although we won the lawsuit and finally got the records (pdf) this year, we were not entitled to recovery of attorneys’ fees, since we litigated the case without an attorney. Which makes sense. Instead, the government was obliged to reimburse our costs, particularly the $250 filing fee to bring the lawsuit. A check is supposed to be in the mail.

Anyway, the legal practices and procedures governing the award of attorneys’ fees in legal proceedings of all kinds are fairly complicated, with numerous exceptions and qualifications.

A newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service presents what seems to be a comprehensive treatment of the subject (in 123 pages). See “Awards of Attorneys’ Fees by Federal Courts and Federal Agencies” (pdf), updated March 1, 2007.

Some other noteworthy CRS products that are not readily available in other public collections include these.

“Intelligence Issues for Congress” (pdf), updated February 27, 2007.

“China-U.S. Aircraft Collision Incident of April 2001: Assessments and Policy Implications” (pdf), updated October 10, 2001.