In Re: Certain Amicus Curiae Applications; Minister of Health and Others v Treatment Action Campaign and Others (CCT8/02)  ZACC 13 (5 July 2002)
An amicus curiae is, literally, a friend of the court. These are Counsel who are usually invited by the court to assist it with presentation of a case (either by way of written argument or oral argument or both) on certain specified questions of law usually not raised (or sufficiently dealt with) by the main parties and which the court considers necessary for the determination of the issue(s) before it. But the most prevalent intervention of amicus curiae is when an application is made to court for intervention as an amicus curiae. This case sets out the requirements for, and expectations of the court from, an amicus curiae. In some applications for intervention as friend of the court applicants have tended to come to court with specific outcomes in mind which favour the one or the other of the main litigants.
It is generally inappropriate to approach the court for intervention as amicus curiae just to support one of the main parties. It is also inappropriate to approach court and raise matter that is irrelevant to the determination of the issues raised by the parties, or to divert attention from the issues before court.