An amicus brief is a legal document filed by an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in an appellate court. It is filed to draw the court’s attention to matters relevant to a case. An amicus brief provides relevant information such as additional policy arguments the court may wish to consider as well as technical or scientific data.
Amicus briefs may also draw the attention of the court to potential implications of certain holdings or orders on a group, industry, or jurisdiction. The court has discretion in allowing non-litigants to file amicus briefs.
Those preparing amicus briefs for circuit courts should pay attention to the federal rules as outlined in the Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29, which codifies the essentials of an amicus brief. These include corporate disclosure statements, a table of contents, a table of authorities, and a statement of identity, authority, or interest.