Just curious.

As a non-lawyer, I often see the phrase "friend of the court".

It is obvious to the layman what it means, but when and where did this first become "a thing"?

  • The term Amicus Curae means slightly different things in England and, for example, the USA. In the USA someone who is not a party to the litigation but who might be affected can file an Amicus Curae brief containing arguments to be considered by the court. Someone who does this in England is called an Intervenor, not an Amicus Curae. An Amicus Curae in England is a barrister appointed by the court to assist the court with impartial arguments and observations. So you probably need to specify in your question what type of Amicus Curae you are asking about
    – Nemo
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


England. A long time ago.

The amicus curiae1 probably has its roots in English Common Law and not, as Wikipedia says, in Roman Law.

Notwithstanding, it’s very old: possibly pre-dating the Norman invasion. As such, it’s origin and early development would be a very niche area of study for a historian and is likely to have fragmentary records.

1 Crema, Luigi. "The Common Law (And Not Roman) Origins of Amicus Curiae in International Law – Debunking a Fake News Item" Global Jurist, vol. 20, no. 1, 2020, pp. 20190038. https://doi.org/10.1515/gj-2019-0038


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .