Can I Talk Directly with the Board Judge To Explain My Appeal?

The Board's judges are prohibited from engaging in "ex parte communications" about any pending case. See 43 C.F.R. 4.27(b). "Ex parte communications" are either written or oral communications about the substance or merits of an appeal without everyone involved with the case knowing about the document or discussion. Because of this prohibition, the Board's judges will not normally speak directly with either a party to a pending appeal or to a party's attorney.

Ex parte communications do not include communications concerning the status of a pending appeal or procedural questions. See Winlock Veneer Co. v. Acting Juneau Area Director, 20 IBIA 3 (1991). However, because an inquiry that begins about a procedural matter can quickly shift into substantive areas, all inquiries about pending cases should be addressed to the Board's Legal Assistant, rather than to the Chief Judge or the Judge assigned to the case.

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