Originally U.S. Claims Court, 1982-1993
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims was established as the U.S. Claims Court by the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982 (96 Stat. 25). The new court assumed the original jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Claims, which had operated since 1855 and was abolished by the act of 1982. The act of 1982 granted the U.S. Claims Court jurisdiction to hear money claims against the federal government based on the Constitution, statute, executive department regulations, or government contracts. Typical cases might involve disputes concerning tax refunds, federal contracts, federal takings of private property, or government employees' pay. The act of 1982 declared that the U.S. Claims Court was "established under article I of the Constitution of the United States" and the court is codified as part of Title 28 of the U.S. Code. Like other courts of the federal judiciary, it is governed in certain matters by the Judicial Conference of the United States, and it receives administrative assistance from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
The act of 1982 authorized sixteen judgeships for the U.S. Claims Court. Judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a term of fifteen years. The act also provided that the President designate one of the nominees as the chief judge of the court. Initially, all commissioners serving on the former U.S. Court of Claims as of the effective date of the act became judges of the U.S. Claims Court and served until they reached fifteen years of service since appointment as a commissioner, or until October 1, 1986, whichever came first. (The judges of the old U.S. Court of Claims were reassigned to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which assumed the appellate jurisdiction of the old court and hears appeals from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.) Judges of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims have had, since the court's inception, an option to assume senior status upon meeting congressionally prescribed service criteria. Senior judges accept a reduced caseload during periods when the chief judge of the court has recalled them for service. The president is authorized to appoint a successor to a judge who assumes senior status.
In 1992 Congress changed the name of the court to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The principal seat of the court is Washington, D.C., but Congress authorized the court to sit in other locations to facilitate appearances by parties and witnesses.