What is an Amicus Brief?
Amicus Curiae or “friend of the court,” have been a part of the United States legal system since the nineteenth century. Amicus Briefs allow individuals or organizations that are not parties to the case to provide relevant information or argument to the court on issues in the litigation. They are particularly useful when they provide specialized expertise or a perspective distinct from that presented by the parties.
Can anyone file an amicus brief?
An amicus brief is a legal document that can be filed in an appellate court case by people who are not litigants in the case but have an interest in the case or subject matter. Nearly anyone who is interested in the case can file an amicus brief as long as they meet a few basic requirements.
Requirements for Filing
To avoid being inundated by “Friends of the courts” amicus briefs must follow certain rules put forth by the courts. Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29, which can be found here. Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29 sets out the requirements for amicus briefs in federal appeals courts and is the benchmark for other courts.
If you are interested in filing an Amicus Curiae Brief “friend of the court”, please be sure to follow the local rules of the Court you are filing.
Here is a general guide to consider before submitting an Amicus Curiae Brief:
What to Include
Be sure to include the following information when you submit your request by motion:
1. Statement of your interest in the case and the person or group you represent,
2. Statement of your familiarity with the issues involved in the review and with the scope of the argument to be presented,
3. Statement of the specific issues to which your brief will be addressed, and
4. Statement of your reason for believing that additional argument is necessary on these specific issues.
5. A copy of your proposed amicus brief should be included with the motion.
Please note that the parties to the case may object to a motion to file an amicus curiae brief. The court will then rule on the motion and decide whether or not to allow your amicus brief to be filed.