amicus curiae

[ uh-mahy-kuhs kyoor-ee-ee, uh-mee-kuhs kyoor-ee-ahy ]
/ əˈmaɪ kəs ˈkyʊər iˌi, əˈmi kəs ˈkyʊər iˌaɪ /
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Definition of amicus curiae

noun, plural a·mi·ci cu·ri·ae [uh-mahy-kahy kyoor-ee-ee, uh-mee-kee kyoor-ee-ahy]. /əˈmaɪ kaɪ ˈkyʊər iˌi, əˈmi ki ˈkyʊər iˌaɪ/. Law.
a person, not a party to the litigation, who volunteers or is invited by the court to give advice upon some matter pending before it.
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Also called friend of the court.

Origin of amicus curiae

Borrowed into English from New Latin around 1605–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is an amicus curiae brief?

A person referred to as an amicus curiae is not part of either side of a trial or acting on behalf of the court itself. Rather, they are an outside party who contributes their input to the case.

Most of the time, an interested person or group requests permission to submit an amicus curiae brief in order to offer their advice or opinion. However, a court may also ask someone to draft an amicus curiae brief to rely on their expertise or knowledge on a technical matter or a complex law.

The plural of amicus curiae is amici curiae.

Amici curiae are most common in appellate courts. In particular, US Supreme Court cases often involve many amicus curiae briefs, especially in cases that focus on controversial issues. The intent of many of these briefs is to urge the judges (called justices on the Supreme Court) to side with the position that the amicus curiae supports. As such, the briefs often play a major role in the courts’ decisions.

Where does amicus curiae come from?

The first records of the term amicus curiae in English come from around the early 1600s. The phrase is borrowed from New Latin and literally translates to “friend of the court.” The term friend refers to the fact that such a person is supposed to provide insight, advice, or expertise to the court to help it arrive at a just decision.

The Supreme Court has explicit rules regarding amicus curiae briefs and how they are to be submitted. Depending on the case, the Supreme Court may dedicate a large amount of time to just accepting and reviewing amicus curiae briefs. In a typical term, the Court may accept many hundreds amicus curiae briefs to use during scheduled cases.

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What are some other forms related to amicus curiae?

  • amici curiae (plural)

What are some words that share a root or word element with amicus curiae?

What are some words that often get used in discussing amicus curiae?

How is amicus curiae used in real life?

The term amicus curiae is most commonly used in the context of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court cases, especially cases involving controversial issues, will often involve a number of amicus curiae briefs from prominent individuals or organizations.



Try using amicus curiae!

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An amicus curiae is a legal professional employed by a court to offer advice.

How to use amicus curiae in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for amicus curiae

amicus curiae
/ (æˈmiːkʊs ˈkjʊərɪˌiː) /

noun plural amici curiae (æˈmiːkaɪ)
law a person not directly engaged in a case who advises the court

Word Origin for amicus curiae

Latin, literally: friend of the court
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for amicus curiae

amicus curiae
[ (uh-mee-kuhs kyoor-ee-eye) ]

See friend of the court.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.