Can parties join a case at the appeals stage?
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
UPDATED: Dec 17, 2019
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.
Even an appeal is not exclusive. In order to ensure court efficiency and equal handed decisions, the court allows parties to join in even at the appeals stage where necessary. There are two different scenarios where people may join in appeals: amicus curiae and joinder.
Understanding Amicus Curiae
A party who files under amicus curiae is interested only in adding their own argument to boost an existing party. Briefs for amicus curiae are typically done in cases of extreme social importance. Examples of appropriate briefs include unsolicited testimony, unsolicited expert advice, or a learned treatise on the topic.
The idea behind an amicus curiae brief is that the person filing is a “friend of the court” whose only purpose is to help the judges come to the right decision. The best explanation of amicus curiae comes from the 1968 case Allen v. Sir Alfred McAlpine & Sons Ltd and states, “I had always understood that the role of an amicus curiae was to help the court by expounding the law impartially, or if one of the parties were unrepresented, by advancing the legal arguments on his behalf.”
Joinder Requirements and Rules
Under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, parties may also join a case at the appeal stage. Unlike the amicus curiae brief, a joinder to an appeal becomes an active and interested party awaiting a chance to argue and a new decision. Under Section II Rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, there are two ways that a party may be joined in an appeals case:
- When two or more parties are entitled to appeal from a district-court judgment or order, and their interests make joinder practicable, they may file a joint notice of appeal. They may then proceed on appeal as a single appellant.
- When the parties have filed separate timely notices of appeal, the appeals may be joined or consolidated by the court of appeals.
If you are interested in joining in on an existing appeal, consult with an appellate attorney or litigation lawyer to determine your rights.Â