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A.Word.A.Day--amicus curiae

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amicus curiae (uh-MY-kuhs KYOOR-ee-ee, uh-MI-kuhs KYOOR-ee-i) noun, plural amici curiae

A person or group, not party to a particular litigation, but permitted by the court to advise it on the matter related to the case.

[From Latin, literally friend of the court, from amicus (friend) + curiae, from curia (court).]

"Former attorney general Mahmudul Islam, appearing as amicus curiae to assist the court, submitted that the earlier remarks of the IGP against a sitting High Court judge were tantamount to contempt of court."
IGP Sorry For Contemptuous Remarks About Judge; The Daily Star (Dhaka, Bangladesh); Jan 21, 2004.

"FairTest and other groups argued in amicus curiae briefs that any decision relying heavily on the ACT or the SAT as a valid admissions factor would be wrong."
Jay Mathews; The Bias Question; The Atlantic Monthly (Boston, Massachusetts); Nov 2003.

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." While there's truth in Plato's words, most of us fall somewhere between good and bad. And for people in that spectrum, laws serve as good deterrents.

Like any other profession, the world of law has its own jargon. Even though legal terms may seem designed to keep lay persons in the dark so that the lawyers can charge hefty fees, there's a need for them. In a field where a single word can make a world of difference, a succinct, and more importantly, unambiguous vocabulary is essential.

May you never have to consult a lawyer (or a barrister, solicitor, attorney, advocate, or whatever they are called in your land), but it's good to know some of the legal jargon. This week we summons five of these terms to AWAD.


The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. -John Steinbeck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1902-1968)

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