O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Understanding Government Contract Law

Book Description

A “back-to-basics” guide to government contract law
Finally! A plain-English presentation of the basic legal concepts of government contract law for professionals at any stage in their careers.
Until now, anyone in the procurement field has had to trudge through dense and complex texts written in hard-to-follow “legalese” in their quest to understand procurement law. With Understanding Government Contract Law, they finally have a source of clear and concise explanations of the legal principles involved in government contract law, written by an authority on the subject.
Part I of the book focuses on the unique problems facing each of the parties to a government contract – the contract officer and the contractor – and offers insight to the many roles played by the contract officer in the procurement process. Part II describes why and how the government contract is different from commercial contracts. Part III explores the ins and outs of a government contract lawsuit.
The author presents key legal principles of government contract law by:
• Stating a legal principle
• Specifying where in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that principle is found
• Offering the rationale, context, and any public policy behind the principle
• Describing, with case law examples, situations where the government applied the law correctly and situations where the government came to that conclusion incorrectly

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. About the Authors
  5. Dedication
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Part I The Parties
    1. Chapter 1 The Contracting Officer as Judge
      1. A “Fair and Reasonable” Judge
        1. Three Simple Rules for Always Being Fair and Reasonable
        2. Being Fair and Reasonable in Awarding a Contract
        3. Being Fair and Reasonable in Administering a Contract
      2. An “Independent” Judge
    2. Chapter 2 The Contracting Officer as Sheriff
      1. The Solicitation Process
        1. Protecting the Integrity of the Solicitation Process
        2. Responsibility
      2. Contract Administration
        1. Fraud
        2. Withholding of Payments
        3. Assignments
    3. Chapter 3 The Contracting Officer as Defendant
      1. Contracting Officer’s Financial Liability to the Government
      2. Contracting Officer’s Financial Liability to The Public
        1. Government Employee or Independent Contractor
        2. Negligence or One of the “Non-Enumerated” Intentional Torts
        3. Discretionary Function
        4. Within the Scope of the Employee’s Duties
    4. Chapter 4 The Contracting Officer as Plaintiff
    5. Chapter 5 Contractor Responsibilities
      1. Check Contracting Officer’s Authority
        1. Third-party Beneficiaries
        2. Institutional Ratification
      2. Bait and Switch
      3. Implied Certifications
      4. Fraud in Claims
  8. Part II The Contract
    1. Chapter 6 Types of Government Contracts
      1. Different Kinds of Agreements
        1. Grants and Cooperative Agreements
        2. Concession Contracts
      2. Express Contracts
        1. Mutual Intent to Contract
        2. Consideration
        3. Lack of Ambiguity in Offer and Acceptance
        4. Authority to Bind the Government: Legally Competent
        5. Exceptions to Delegated (Express) Authority
      3. Implied Contracts
        1. Implied-in-Fact Contracts
        2. Implied-in-Law Contracts
    2. Chapter 7 Contract Interpretation
      1. The Goal of Contract Interpretation: Finding the Intent of the Parties
        1. What Is “Objective Intent”?
        2. Where Is Objective Intent Found?
      2. The Two Steps of Contract Interpretation
        1. STEP 1: If Words Are Clear and Unambiguous, Find Their Plain Meaning
        2. STEP 2: If the Words Are Ambiguous, Get Interpretive Help from Wherever You Can Find It
    3. Chapter 8 Contract Administration Quirks
      1. The Government Intentionally and Unilaterally Changes It Using the Changes Clause
        1. Within the Scope of the Contract
        2. Indicators of Beyond-Scope Work
      2. The Government Inadvertently Changes the Deal: Constructive Changes
        1. Extras
        2. Defective Specifications
        3. A Constructive Change by Other Government Employees
      3. Deadlines That Are Not Really Deadlines, Just Suggestions: Notice Requirements
        1. Notice under the Changes Clause
        2. No Prejudice
        3. Making Deadlines Firm
      4. Clauses Left Out That Are in a Government Contract Anyway: The Christian Doctrine
      5. The Government Prematurely Ends the Agreement: Terminations for Convenience
        1. Bad Faith
        2. Abuse of Discretion
  9. Part III Lawsuits over Government Contracts
    1. Chapter 9 Federal Litigation: Suing the Federal Government
      1. Any Lawsuit
        1. Branch of Government: Judicial, Legislative, or Executive?
        2. The Jurisdiction of a Forum
        3. The Law the Judge Applies
        4. Relief
      2. Any Lawsuit against the Federal Government
        1. Branch of Government
        2. Jurisdiction of a Forum
        3. The Law a Judge Applies
        4. Relief
        5. Standing of the Plaintiff
        6. Sovereign Immunity
      3. The Two Typical Procurement Lawsuits against the Government: Protests and Claims
        1. Protests
        2. Claims
      4. CFC–District Court Overlap: Does the Issue Involve a Federal Contract or a Federal Regulation?
        1. Contractor Not Challenging Federal Regulation
        2. Contractor Challenging Federal Regulation
    2. Chapter 10 Protests
      1. The Protest
        1. What Can Be Protested?
        2. When Can Something Be Protested?
      2. The Automatic Stay
    3. Chapter 11 The Claims Process
      1. What Is a “Claim”?
        1. Why All the Fuss Over Whether Something Is a Claim?
        2. REA and Claim Distinguished
        3. Definition of a Claim
      2. How Is a Claim Raised and Resolved?
        1. How Does a Contractor File a Claim?
        2. How the Contracting Officer Handles the Claim
      3. When Must a Claim Be Filed?
        1. Statute of Limitations for Filing Claims with the Contracting Officer
        2. Statute of Limitations for Appealing a Contracting Officer’s Final Decision
      4. Appeal to the CFC or BCA
        1. Election Doctrine
        2. De novo
      5. Appeal to the CAFC
    4. Chapter 12 Costs of Litigation
      1. EAJA
        1. Prevailing Party
        2. Eligible Party
        3. Substantially Justified Position
        4. Amount
      2. CICA
        1. Undue Delay
        2. Corrective Action
        3. Clearly Meritorious Protest
        4. Amount
  10. Index