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Affiant

n. a friend of the court. One, who as a stander by, when a judge is doubtful or mistaken in a matter of law, may inform the court; someone who is not a party to a case but who volunteers to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court of law. The nature of help could be legal opinion, testimonial or learned treatise. The decision whether to admit the information lies with the discretion of the court. Say for example, an advocacy group files a brief in a case before an appellate court to which it is not a litigant. The appellate court being limited to the factual record and arguments coming from the lower court case under appeal might be helped by an amicus curiae by introducing court to the broader implications of its probably decisions, whose effects are not just limited to the parties directly involved. Usually controversial cases attract a number of such briefs but the discretion to grant or deny permission to act as amicus curiae lies with the court.

 
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