An amicus brief is a legal document that can be filed in an appellate court case by people who are not litigants in the case but have an interest in the case or subject matter. These briefs provide details to the court that may be relevant or additional information or arguments that the court may wish to take into consideration. An amicus brief that is well-written can have a significant impact on the court’s decision. In some situations, a case may be decided based on information provided by the brief.
Because an amicus brief is filed by an outside party, the information introduced to the court in the brief shows the court that the outcome of the case may have impact on people beyond those that are immediate to the case. It can also provide information that may not have been previously introduced to the court in documents provided by the parties involved in the case, including technical information or background information. Nearly anyone who is interested in the case can file an amicus brief as long as they meet a few basic requirements.
What Requirements Must be Met in an Amicus Brief?
On the cover of the amicus brief, a member of the Supreme Court Bar has to be listed as the counsel of record. The cover must also state which party the brief will be supporting or if the brief is only in support of a reversal or affirmation. The brief must also include the following sections: Table of Contents, Table of Authorities, Interest of Amicus Curiae, Argument, Summary of Argument, and Conclusion. The word count of an amicus brief can not exceed 6,000 words in the Petition stage, or 9,000 words in the Merits stage.
Filing Deadlines for an Amicus Brief
Amicus briefs that are filed during the Petition stage must be filed within 30 days of the petition being placed on the docket. This is also the date that the clerk enters as the response due date. Those in support of the petitioner will be required to meet the 30-day deadline, but those filing on behalf of the respondent will be required to meet the due date by which the respondent must file any requests or extensions.
Briefs that are filed during the Merits stage, whether filed in support of the petition or neither party must be filed within seven days of the filing date for the respondent’s brief. Extensions are allowed to be filed by amici during the Merits stage.
Requesting Permission to File
If someone wishes to file an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, he or she must request permission to do so. A motion must be filed with the court, with an attached proposal of the amicus brief, no later than seven days after the brief the amicus brief supports has been filed. The motion must state why the brief is desirable and how the matters contained in it may be relevant to the outcome of the case.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
If you are an interested party to a case and are considering filing an amicus brief, but still have questions, an experienced attorney can help you understand the process. Contact the attorneys at the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood and schedule a consultation today.