Amicus Curiae (Amicus Brief) - Explained
What is Amicus Curiae?
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What is Amicus Curiae?
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.
Back To: Legal Disputes: Civil and Criminal Law
When is an Amicus Curiae Brief Used?
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.