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A Primer For Appeals to the Interior Board of Land Appeals

H. Barry Holt, Public Land Law, Regulation, and Management

C. Organization of OHA and IBLA

OHA is housed administratively within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, under the Deputy Assistant Secretary - Technology, Information, and Business Services, who reports to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget. OHA itself consists of the Office of the Director, the Departmental Hearings Division,20 the Probate Hearings Division, the White Earth Settlement Act (“WELSA”) Hearings Division, as-needed ad hoc appeals boards, and two standing appeals boards - the Board of Indian Appeals and IBLA.21 OHA is lead by a Director, who is an ex-officio member of each of the appeals boards.22

OHA Organization

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As originally configured, IBLA had five judges, but that number has varied over the years, based on case load and budget considerations, up to a maximum of 13 administrative judges and down to a minimum of 4 administrative judges. Currently, there should be 5 administrative judges, assuming there has been a selection of a new Chief Administrative Judge. The Chief Administrative Judge is in charge of all internal management and administration of the [13-5] Board, and acts on behalf of the Board, as necessary, in conducting the Board's routine business.23 Board support staff consists of a legal assistant, Docket Clerk, staff attorneys, and an attorney designate