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Amicus Briefs

CALS and Centre for Human Rights (CHR) members are involved in the organising and drafting of amicus (friend of court) briefs in U S death penalty and human rights cases.

We work with the Bar of England & Wales and the Law Society of England & Wales to develop and advance common law or international law arguments.

We work with a wide range of third parties, from governments and professional organisations to bars and law societies around the world, as well as local legal teams to ensure expert knowledge and experience is shared with the courts on matters of significant legal importance.

Previous Amicus Briefs (Click to reveal)
  • Moore v. Texas, 2016 WL 324311 (U.S.) (2016) – amicus brief on Writ of Certiorari. CALS member named as one of amici. Execution after prolonged detention amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.


  • Walter v. Commonwealth, on the Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States, Brief of the Bar of Ireland, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, the Paris Bar Association, as amicus curiae, in support of the petitioner, No. 15-650, (2015).

  • In Re Linda Carty, Brief of the Government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland as amicus curiae on behalf of petitioner Linda Carty on application for Post Conviction Writ of Habeas Corpus, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, CCA Case WR-61, 055-02, filed 10/31/2014


  • Ortiz v. United States, Pending filed 2015 – amicus brief on Writ of Certiorari. Failure to apply international mental health practices and mental health opinions to the intellectual disability testing of persons foreign to the United States of America amounting cruel and unusual punishment, and violation of equal protection.

  • Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. __ (2012) - amicus brief in merits stage proceedings. Prohibition of the imposition of life without parole sentences on juveniles for homicide offences.


  • Valle v. Florida, 564 U.S. ___ (2011) – amicus brief on Writ of Certiorari. Execution after prolonger detention amounting cruel and unusual punishment.

  • Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010) – amicus brief in merits stage proceedings. Prohibition of the imposition of life without parole sentences on juveniles for non-homicide offences

  • Deck v. Missouri, 544 U.S. 622 (2005) - amicus brief on Writ of Certiorari. Shackling of prisoner during capital penalty phase proceedings. CALS member received commendation from President of National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers for organising its brief.
  • Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005) - amicus brief in merits stage proceedings. Prohibition of execution of 16- and 17-year-old defendants.
  • In re Stanford, 537 U.S. 968 (2002) - petition for original Writ of Habeas Corpus. Execution of 17-year-old defendant.
  • Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002) - amicus brief in merits stage proceedings (brief previously filed in McCarver v. North Carolina transferred to these proceedings by leave of the Court when McCarver cert. grant dismissed as improvidently granted). Prohibition of execution of individuals suffering from intellectual disability.

  • Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782 (2001), amicus brief on Writ of Certiorari. Texas capital sentencing scheme unable to allow jurors to give effect to all mitigating circumstances.

CALS and Amicus Curiae Briefs

CALS has unrivalled experience in organising and contributing to amicus curiae briefs for submission to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the United States is a major player in the international community, it has failed so far to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the O.A.S. American Convention on Human Rights.

Centre for Human Rights AMICUS Page Image 2 - 350x263 - CHR staffMany of the significant milestone cases raise issues of international law or similar but the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are divided concerning the relevance of arguments founded upon international understandings of public international law and treaty obligations to interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Justices who have found support in international law, even though stating that it is not controlling, have been severely criticised and have even faced calls for their impeachment for relying upon “foreign law”. This is an argument that is ongoing within the Court.

In conjunction with American amici, CALS and CHR will continue to maintain a watching brief on pending petitions and certiorari grants to identify cases where we feel we can bring special expertise or insights to the Court’s attention. In such cases we will take the initiative to identify amici and organise a brief.

CALS is also willing to offer consultancy to prospective litigants or amici in certain areas where its members have special knowledge or expertise – these include issues of federalism, equal protection, judicial recusal, capital penalty jurisprudence, Vienna Convention rights, environmental law, and general common law principles.