At a glance
YEREVAN, 22 June 2012 – A two-day training workshop for some 25 lawyers and human rights defenders from non-governmental organizations on third party intervention (amicus curiae) in constitutional and international human rights procedures started in Yerevan today.
The workshop is organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan and the Armenian Chamber of Advocates to build the capacity of Armenian advocates and civil society representatives in preparing amicus curiae briefs for the Armenian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights as a supplementary method in the protection of human rights in Armenia.
Amicus curiae is a legal term meaning “friend of a court” that refers to a non-party to the case who volunteers to offer information on an arguable point of law or some other aspects of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it. Its aim is to further the efficiency of the court by advancing the legal arguments on what implication the case may have on people other than the parties to the case.
“With this workshop, we seek to strengthen the capacity and create avenues for lawyers and civil society to provide input into the constitutional court decision-making process,” said Maria Silvanyan, National Legal Adviser at the OSCE Office in Yerevan. “The amicus briefs, as a source of additional evidence and arguments for the court’s reasoning, have also proved to be beneficial for the quality of justice.”
The training workshop is run by Padraig Hughes, an international expert from Interights (London), and local attorney Vahe Grigoryan. Participants will be introduced to the definition and background of amicus curiae briefs, discuss the role of NGOs in international and domestic proceedings and engage in practical exercises.
“The concept of amicus curiae remains as yet underdeveloped in Armenia, but it is widely applied in the Western legal tradition, especially in the common law countries and on the level of higher and international courts. This tool may be effectively explored by civil society in providing valuable information to the court about legal arguments, or how a case might affect people other than the parties to the case,” said Arman Poghosyan, Adviser to the Chairman of the Armenian Chamber of Advocates.
The workshop is a part of activities by the OSCE Office in Yerevan to support Armenian judicial reform.