Amicus curiae is a legal Latin phrase which literally means “friend of the court”. The phrase refers to a third party (a person or group who is not a party in a dispute) who petitions the court for permission to submit a brief in the action with the intent of influencing the court’s decision due to an interest in the dispute. Such information is often in the form of a legal brief on a matter which is central to the case. Where a case has far-reaching implications, amicus curiae briefs are a way to introduce those concerns, so that the potentially broad legal effects of court decisions will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case. Courts have wide discretion to grant or to deny permission to act as amicus curiae. Cases which are highly publicized and/or highly controversial may attract a number of such amicus curiae briefs.
“The consumer advocacy group filed an amicus curiae brief in the matter before the Supreme Court due to its potentially widespread effect on individual purchasers.”