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    Government Contracting Database

    Christian Doctrine

    The Christian doctrine permits the incorporation by operation of law of mandatory contract clauses which express a significant or deeply ingrained strand of public procurement policy. G.L. Christian & Assoc. v. United States, 312 F.2d at 424, 427. It has also been applied to incorporate less fundamental or significant mandatory clauses if they were not written to benefit or protect the party seeking the incorporation. General Engineering & Mach. Works v. O’Keefe, 991 F.2d 775, 780 (Fed. Cir. 1993); Chris Berg, Inc. v. United States, 426 F. 2d 314, 317 (Ct. Cl. 1970).

    Application of the Christian Doctrine turns upon “whether procurement policies are being ‘avoided or evaded (deliberately or negligently) by lesser officials.” S.J. Amoroso Const. Co., Inc. v. United States, 12 F.3d 1072, 1075 (Fed. Cir. 1993) (quoting G.L. Christian & Assoc. v. United States, 320 F.2d at 351 ). The doctrine “‘guard[s] the dominant legislative policy against ad hoc encroachment or dispensation by the executive’ and prevents ‘hobb[ling] the very policies which the appointed rule – makers consider significant enough to call for… mandatory regulation.” Id.

    The Christian doctrine, however, does not permit the “automatic incorporation of every required contract clause.” General Engineering & Mach. Works v. O’Keefe, 991 F.2d at 779. Rather, it must be determined whether there is any significant or deeply ingrained public procurement policy supporting incorporation of the clause.

    Appeal of Lambrecht & Sons, Inc., ASBCA No. 49515, 97 – 2 BCA ¶ 29105.

    Updated: July 24, 2018

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