Amicus Curiae

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Amicus Curiae

Literal Meaning

A friend of the Court.

Explanation & Origin

The amicus curiae figure originates in Roman law.

 Starting in the 9th century, it was incorporated into English law, and it was later extended to most common law systems.

Later, it was introduced in international law, in particular concerning human rights. From there, it was integrated in some civil law systems (it has recently been integrated into Argentina‘s law system and Honduras‘s 2010 civil procedures code).

Today, it is used by the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

 The phrase amicus curiae is a legal Latin.

An amicus curiae (literally, “friend of the court”) is someone who is not a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by a party and who assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case; and is typically presented in the form of a brief.

The decision on whether to consider an amicus brief lies within the discretion of the court.

Amicus briefs are commonly filed in appeals regarding matters of broad public interest, such as civil rights cases, cases broadly affecting such institutions as education or the powers of law enforcement.

Amicus curiae is a bystander (usually a counselor) who interposes and volunteers information upon some matter of law in regard to which the judge is doubtful or mistaken. A person who has no right to appear in a suit but is allowed to introduce argument to protect his interests.

Illustration 

Ganesh is not a party to an action, but has a strong interest in the matter, will petition the court for permission to submit a brief in the action with the intent of influencing the court‘s decision. Such briefs are called “amicus briefs.”

Case Reference

 Allen vs. Sir Alfred McAlpine & Sons Ltd  [(1968)] 2 QB 229]

The role of an amicus is, as stated by Salmon LJ (as Lord Salmon then was) :

“I had always understood that the role of an amicus curiae was to help the court by expounding the law impartially, or if one of the parties were unrepresented, by advancing the legal arguments on his behalf. “

Mulla & Another vs State Of Uttar Pradesh [(2003) 3 SCC 569]

In this case the learned amicus curiae fairly stated that no family member ever approached during the entire proceedings enquiring these appellants. The perusal of the case records also shows that no one is depending on them and no family responsibility is on the shoulders of these accused persons.

Sanjeev Kumar Mittal vs The State [Crl. Misc. No. M-20610 of 2017]

In this case Considering the serious offenses against the administration of justice, Dr. Arun Mohan, Senior Advocate was appointed as amicus curiae.

Jakia Nasim Ahesan & Anr vs State Of Gujarat & Ors [2008]

The learned Amicus Curiae has now submitted his final report. In light of the above conspectus and the report of the learned Amicus Curiae , the question for determination is the future course of action in the matter.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje