Amicus Participation in the Appellate Courts

Often, when the Nevada Supreme Court encounters an issue of first impression that might have wide-reaching implications for the state, it has only the benefit of the parties’ competing arguments to guide its decision making.  There may not be any party in the case who will provide the “30,000-foot” perspective of how the Court’s decision could affect the state as a whole.  For that reason, in recent years, the Nevada Supreme Court has encouraged amicus participation in cases that raise issues of statewide importance.  An amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” can frame issues within competing policy objectives rather than competing litigant needs.

Amici often are public interest organizations, trade associations, governmental entities, private-sector companies, or professional associations.  However, RAP 29, which sets forth the rules for amicus participation, does not limit who may seek to file an amicus brief.  Federal and state governments and their officers, agencies and political subdivisions have the right to file an amicus brief without the consent of the parties or leave of court.  All others must either file a motionf or leave to file an amicus brief or demonstrate that all parties have consented to such participation.  The motion must be accompanied by the proposed brief and state the movant’s interest and the reasons why an amicus brief is desirable.

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The Writ – Appellate Briefs

November 2017, Vol. 39, No. 10

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