Amici curiae (‘amici’) are generally understood as being ‘friends of the court’. They provide submissions to the court but are not parties to the dispute. They have never been a significant feature of constitutional litigation in the High Court of Australia. Amici involvement has been the exception rather than the rule in the High Court, in any type of litigation before it. Should they appear more frequently? Yes.
In the context of constitutional justice, amici should play a greater role. Constitutional justice can be understood as many things. For some, constitutional justice is a reference to the attainment of substantive rights protection through the application of the Constitution to a particular set of circumstances. For the purpose of this discussion, however, it is simply another way of saying ‘access to constitutional litigation’ in the sense of being able to participate in that litigation.