Amicus Curiae – Definition

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Amicus Curiae Definition

A legal term which translated means “friend of the court”. The Amicus Curiae or Amicus Brief is a written document or person or organization that presents the court with a different perspective or information on a case.

A Little More on What is Amicus Curiae

The Amicus Curiae is a report which is presented by someone who doesn’t have a direct interest in the case, and instead intervenes to defend the interest especially when fundamental rights are at stake and need defended.

In this manner, the judicial system enables those who are not necessarily a part of the court proceedings to provide the judge with additional arguments for those fields they have been acknowledged as experienced in. Because of this the Amicus Curiae does not have a binding effect on the judge it is addressed to. It’s purpose is not an enforcement of the arguments rather than to share them as provided so there is no impairment of the independence.

However, on the other hand, the Amicus Curiae seeks to help reinforce the independence to help guarantee that these judges come to a decision by contrasting the different points of views which are applicable to the case they are reviewing. This can help to contribute to the credibility of the judges actions and decisions.

It is because of this significance that the use of this method has thus been extended to many national legal systems like ours. Before there was protection of human rights within international bodies, the significance of this was not questioned for an effective way to ensure accessibility, effectiveness, and independence.

It is also important to highlight the fact that this institution makes transparent this judicial debate. It works to channel a legitimate conversation and discussion with the judges on various controversial issues. One example of a case in this regard in which Amicus Curiae was presented was in the case of Saldano v. the United States. Here the Amnesty International and Center for Legal and Social Studies of Argentina presented the Amicus Curiae to debate the death penalty within the International American System for the Protection of Human Rights.

In this Peruvian case, it should also be made clear that from the significant work of the Ombudsman presenting as a “Friend of the Court” both the Constitutional Court and Judiciary accepted a different Amicus Curiae which was presented by our institution. When the unconstitutional cut of benefits of fourth list workers were dismissed in the nineties this played an important role.  (Emergency Decree N ° 026-2009).

Through Amicus Curiae, the Constitutional Court helped to establish a criteria that made sure the placement of bars on the public roads would not be detrimental to the citizens freedom of movement. The participation of Ombudsman’s Office in this case and throughout the judicial process where the criminal responsibility of the authorities were discussed because of the tragedy that happened in the commercial area of Mesa Redonda was also important, just as the judicial process in the death of 29 people because of the fire in the Discoteca Utopia, where the criminal responsibility of the owners of the establishment were openly debated in public.

Because of the institutional experience and the advantages brought forth to protecting fundamental rights and helping to build a fair and just judicial system for the population it is important to consolidate the proper usage of the Amicus Curiae. This means also spreading it between the citizens, and magistrates so that it can be used appropriately and duly valued.

We must trust that this document dissemination will allow it to be shared with all citizens especially those that serve the justice process. It is not only important for the defense work in protecting fundamental rights but it also helps to protect and strengthen the justice in the country.

References for Amicus Curiae

Academic Research on Amicus Curiae

The amicus curiae brief: From friendship to advocacy, Krislov, S. (1962). Yale LJ, 72, 694. The Amicus Curiae Brief: In this document the Amicus Curiae it is discussed how it can help with advocacy of protecting human rights.

Influence of Amicus Curiae Briefs on the Supreme Court, Kearney, J. D., & Merrill, T. W. (1999). U. Pa. L. Rev., 148, 743. This document discusses the influence of the Amicus Curiae briefs in the supreme court.

Amicus curiae and the role of information at the Supreme Court, Spriggs, J. F., & Wahlbeck, P. J. (1997).Political Research Quarterly, 50(2), 365-386. Within this article we discuss how conventional wisdom still holds that the amicus briefs still provide the supreme court with useful information that isn’t supplied otherwise by litigants. While there are many scholarly studies that explore the information that the briefs contribute to the court in many notable cases these scholars have no systematic knowledge regarding how this information is supported and presented. It is argued that the information presented by the briefs help provide an important point of view that may not otherwise be shown to judges and those in power of making an informed decision.

Amicus curiae briefs by the solicitor general during the Warren and Burger Courts: A research note, Segal, J. A. (1988). Western Political Quarterly, 41(1), 135-144. This article discusses the use of the Amicus Curiae Briefs during the Warren and Burger courts by the solicitor general.

Court rules and workload: A case study of rules governing amicus curiae participation, o’Connor, K., & Epstein, L. (1983). The justice system journal, 35-45. This case study helps to provide a look at the rules that govern the amicus curiae participation within the judicial system.

Amicus curiae in international investment arbitration: the implications of an increase in third-party participation, Levine, E. (2011). Berkeley J. Int’l L., 29, 200. This article provides an inside look at the implications of the increase use of the amicus curiae by third-parties.

Rethinking the role of amicus curiae in international investment arbitration: how to draw the line favorably for the public interest, Gómez, K. F. (2011). Fordham Int’l LJ, 35, 510. This article discusses a different point of view to help you rethink the role of using the Amicus Curiae within international investment arbitration to help favor the public interest.

The amicus curiae in investor-state arbitration, Bastin, L. (2012). Cambridge J. Int’l & Comp. L., 1, 208. This article discusses the use of the amicus curiae in investor-state arbitration.

The emerging civilization of investment arbitration, Bjorklund, A. K. (2008). Penn St. L. Rev., 113, 1269. We discuss the emerging civilization of using the amicus curiae in investment arbitration.

Transparency, third party participation and access to documents in international investment arbitration, Knahr, C. (2007). Arbitration International, 23(2), 327-356. This article discusses the transparency in third party participation and their access to documents within an international investment arbitration. The participation of the non-disputing parties within these arbitral proceedings has gained a lot of importance in the context of the NAFTA Chapter 11 arbitrations and proceedings in the INternational Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, also known as the ICSID. Because of the requests from NGOs to gain access to proceedings as amicus curiae, many written submissions were submitted for these requests to access these documents. This article addresses all the issues submitted and why it is important for the Amicus Curiae to be presented in these cases.

Transparency and public participation in investor-state arbitration, Magraw Jr, D. B., & Amerasinghe, N. M. (2008). ILSA J. Int’l & Comp. L., 15, 337. This article discusses the transparency in the participation within an investor-state arbitration.

Amici curiae in investor-state arbitration: eight recent trends, Bastin, L. (2014). Arbitration International, 30(1), 125-144. This articles discusses and identifies eight more recent trends in investor-state arbitration where the Amici Curiae is used. These eight trends include (1) Using the amici curiae more regularly. (2) The Amici Curiae is no longer just a non-governmental organisation. (3) The Amici Curiae being used outside the context of ICSID and NAFTA. (4) The scope of the various requests of the amici curiae used within the NAFTA context. (5) Requests made outside the NAFTA context are more consistently ambitious. (6) The participation of the amici curiae favours the States (7) How the system has become more permissive of the amici curiae (8) despite the intolerance that keeps increasing for the amici curiae, there is still a lot of work needed for full participation rights being granted.

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