Amicus Curiae

Amicus curiae (also Amicus Curiae, Pl amici curiae, Latin: friend of the court ) means a person or an organization that is involved in a court case, without being a party. This participation can take place, for example, as a " manifestation of third parties " in a two-sided process.

The Amicus is especially someone that highlights significant technical aspects of the dispute and possible decisions. He can provide in-depth information and expertise the decisive court available. However, he does not need to be completely independent. What is decisive is not to be a party. Amicus is even often someone whose interests may be indirectly affected by the dispute and the decision. It is also permissible sharpen a side interest or a partial aspect and pointedly put forward. Especially in the conflict and in the balance of the arguments he proves to the court a "friendship service ".



An amicus curiae is according to the Corpus Juris Secundum a helper. This provides the court on his help if the court doubts in one thing or one aspect of the process.


In the Anglo -Saxon legal system ( common law ), such as in the United States joins the Amicus Curiae as a kind of partisan experts, the civil rights organization ACLU. If anyone sees violated his fundamental rights, can support the concern in court next to the counsel for the applicant also an ACLU representative.

Is about a company involved in a dispute, then other companies can speak with similar interests or interest groups, trade unions, employers' organizations, etc.


Is a prerequisite for admission as amicus curiae, that the same

  • Has an interest in the matter and a
  • Application is made for admission ( Motion of Leave ), and
  • The opinion of the amicus curiae, or amici curiae is helpful for the court.

Whether and to what extent each amicus curiae is admitted into the proceedings, the court decides only itself against a refusal as amicus curiae by the Court is no appeal possible.


The Amicus Curiae in the Anglo- Saxon legal shares his legal opinion of the court in a pleading to which is systematically similar to a private opinion. This font is called briefs. The brief will only be considered acceptable if it represents a new perspective, which was not yet or not fully argued by the parties. In brief questions of fact and law issues can be addressed.

The amicus curiae may basically ask any witnesses in the process. However, it may be allowed to him to inquire of the parties.

The Amicus Curiae is seen as friend of the court, but in practice is usually in a given process output and thus supports the interested parties to the procedure. His argument was not independent and neutral.

The Amici Curiae in the U.S. practice primarily to the proceedings before higher courts of appeal (eg U.S. Supreme Court ) concentrated where most has the importance of the decisive thing correspondingly greater impact for a particular interest group or can have.

The courts can award the Amici Curiae for their activities under certain circumstances and at its request compensation.

European Union

The European Commission has the authority and may in certain proceedings may submit written observations with the consent of crucial national court in the Member States and also submit oral observations.

Also it is free, for example, the Commission and each Member State, for example, in proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union writing to express opinions in a preliminary ruling or before the EFTA Court in certain cases as amicus curiae.

In all the above cases, neither the European Commission nor the Member States argued neutral and independent, but are to a certain output of the process is interested (which is also openly stated ), even if they are not formally join one of the parties to the proceedings. The Amici Curiae receive no compensation for their services.

European Convention on Human Rights

According to Art 36 para 2 ECHR, the Court may, if it is in the interests of justice, each High Contracting Party which is not party to the proceedings or any person concerned who is not the applicant to submit written comments or to participate in hearings.

The persons or organizations appearing before the ECtHR (Third ) do not act neutrally and independently. They are on the contrary in a particular outcome of the proceedings interested and put this also open dar. They are not mutually exclusive in the process one of the parties to the proceedings to. These third parties will not receive compensation for their activities before the ECHR.


According to Austrian procedural law the assistance of an amicus curiae is very restricted. Process seen Legally this is the reimbursement of a private report by a third party who is not a party thereto, to support one of the parties to the proceedings.

The admission of an amicus curiae in Austria (the " Association of Austrian defense lawyers " ) was first applied in proceedings before the Constitutional Court and a negative decision: " Participation is not on that account in question because of the kind not provided for in VfGG for the legislative and regulatory review process and is also a ( from § 35 VfGG derivable ) analogous application of the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code ( as those relating to the joinder [§ 17 ff ZPO ] ) are not eligible for lack of a similar situation. "


Liechtenstein's civil procedure law is largely rezipiert from Austria and it is therefore the assistance of an amicus curiae also very restricted.

International Law

International dishes can be made ​​legal tradition usually Amici Curiae.


  • The Amicus Curiae is not an intervenor, as it is not detected even directly from the effects of the judgment.
  • The Amicus Curiae differs from the experts under German, Liechtenstein and Austrian procedural law, as it also raise legal issues and must be treated while the expert is limited to the factual question ( question of fact ).