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Can I Try To Settle My Appeal after Filing It or Use Some Form of Alternative Dispute Resolution?



The Board strongly encourages the parties in cases before it to attempt to settle their disputes among themselves. Settlement is frequently better for the parties than a decision from the Board. In many cases, the parties will remain in some kind of relationship with each other after a decision. Working on a settlement can help them to work together in the future and perhaps avoid additional disputes.

The Board will stay any appeal when the parties request time to negotiate a settlement. It will ask for periodic status reports on the progress of the negotiations. The Board does not need to know the substance of settlement negotiations, but it does need to know that the parties are still talking. It will continue the stay until a settlement is signed or until one or more parties conclude that settlement is not possible.

The Board encourages the use of any other form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that the parties decide is appropriate. Examples of ADR include traditional settlement talks, mediation, arbitration, and the use of settlement judges. If you are interested in ADR, please notify the Board as soon as possible. The Board may refer you to the Department's Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution for whatever assistance you may need. The telephone number is 202-327-5383.

ADR is a way for the parties - whether tribes or individuals - to control the outcome of a case through mutual agreement. For tribes, it is a way to exercise sovereignty, rather than being subject to a final Departmental decision from the Board.

The Board may suggest that you try to reach a settlement or use a form of ADR. If this happens in your case, it means that the Board has reviewed the case and believes that it may be better for the parties to try to work out their problems than to receive a decision from it. If the Board suggests you try to settle your case, that suggestion should be taken seriously.

If you are attempting to reach a settlement, let the Board know that. On more than one occasion, the Board has issued a decision only to be told that the parties had settled the case. Failing to notify the Board that you are attempting to reach a settlement may cause the Board to spend time on your case that could be spent on a case that the parties cannot settle.

If you reach a settlement, the Board will dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the parties have reached a settlement. The Board does not review the substance of settlements in administrative cases. In probate cases, the Board may refer a proposed settlement to the probate judge for evaluation and a decision whether or not to approve the settlement. See 43 C.F.R. 30.150.


Links to Additional Frequently Asked Questions