How to cite an amicus brief

Written by emily jarvis
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How to cite an amicus brief
The Bluebook contains rigid, complex guidelines for citing legal documents. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

An amicus curiae brief, or amicus brief, is a legal opinion from someone outside a court case who is offering advice to the court about the case. Amicus briefs require proper citations to direct readers to the correct documents. Many law schools and most federal courts in the United States follow the style guidelines of "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation" when citing legal documents such as amicus briefs.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Published court decision
  • Amicus brief

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Identify the amicus curiae, the "friend of the court," who authored the opinion.

  2. 2

    Find the page number of the amicus brief in the reported decision.

  3. 3

    Identify the properly abbreviated name of the case, reporter, volume and page number where the decision begins, and the year the case was decided.

  4. 4

    List the citation as follows: Brief for the SEC as Amicus Curiae, p. 19, Wilko v. Swan, 346 U.S. 427 (1953). Here, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed the amicus curiae brief, which appears on page 19 of the case abbreviated "Wilko v. Swan." The opinion was published in the United States Reports, volume 346, beginning on page 427. The case was decided in 1953.

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