The Roles of Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) in Judicial Systems with Emphasis on Canada and Alberta


  • Macy Mirsane


In administrating their judicial functions, courts can resort to different devices. One of these devices is the appointment of an amicus curiae or a friend of the court. There have been many debates on the origins of this institution and even its definition due to its evolving nature. In this article, the author will consider what this nature is and whether judicial systems are prepared to appreciate this evolution or departure from the amici’s origins. The author is of the opinion that, at least in Canada, the judicial system is required to be careful in expanding the roles of amici and to appoint them in exceptional cases where their appointment is necessary for advancing the administration of judicial functions. In Alberta in particular, some cases are more prone to the amicus’ appointments but still the courts are cautious about determining their roles. The author concludes that in Canadian judicial systems, amici generally contribute to furthering the administration of justice in an orderly and fair manner.