How to File an Amicus Brief, By Michael A Massa, JD
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Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2007
by Michael Angelo Massa, J.D.
'Amicus Curiae' is a legal latin phrase, literally translated as "friend of the court", that refers to someone, not a party to a case, who volunteers to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it. The information may be a legal opinion in the form of a brief- testimony that has not been solicited by any of the parties - or a learned treatise on a matter that bears on the case. The decision whether to admit the information lies with the discretion of the court. The situation most often noted in the press is when an an advocate group files a brief in a case before an appellate court to which it is not a litigant or party. Appellate cases are normally limited to the factual record and arguments coming from the lower court's case under appeal; attorneys focus on the facts and arguments most favorable to their clients. Where a case may have broader implications, amicus curiae briefs are a way to introduce those concerns, so that the possibly broad legal effects of court decisions will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case.
Amici curiae that do not file briefs often present an academic perspective on the case. For example, if the law gives deference to a history of legislation of a certain topic, an historian may choose to evaluate the claim using their expertise. An economist, statistician, or sociologist may choose to do the same.
The court has broad discretion to grant or to deny permission to act as amicus curiae. Generally, cases that are very controversial will attract a number of such briefs.
--- The Author, Michael A Massa, JD., is a Columbus-based legal mediator, writer, and trainer in management, and business matters. He is an adjunct professor at Ohio Dominican University.
He has written on eclectic topics such as Theology, Law and Psychology.
He serves as a mediator in Federal Court as well as an Arbitrator for the Financial Industry.
Massa graduated from Capital Law with a Doctor of Jurisprudence, and has completed doctoral coursework work in both Education and Psychology.
This Article has been viewed 3,316 times. (Not updated in real-time.)Top-level comments on this article: (1 total)
» left by Carl Fuller from Huffman, TX 2 years 315 days ago.
ummmm....so....I see what an "amicus curiae" IS in this article, however the title is quite misleading. The "How to File an Amicus Brief" is nowhere to be found in the text...