Amicus (charity)

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For other uses, see Amicus (disambiguation).
Amicus ALJ
Founded 1992
Type Non-profit organisation
Focus Advocacy, legal assistance, pro bono, access to justice
Area served
United States and worldwide
Mission "To assist in the provision of legal representation for those awaiting capital trial and punishment in the US, or any other country, and to raise awareness of potential abuses of defendants’ rights."
Formerly called
The Andrew Lee Jones Fund

Amicus is a legal non-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom which helps provide representation for those facing the death penalty in the United States and elsewhere.

The charity assists those facing capital trial and punishment around the world, particularly in the United States, by providing proper legal representation and raising awareness of potential abuses of defendants' rights.

Amicus was founded in 1992, in memory of Andrew Lee Jones who was executed in the state of Louisiana in 1991. The charity's headquarters are located in London.

Mission statement[edit]

The charity's objectives are:

"To assist in the provision of legal representation for those awaiting capital trial and punishment in the US, or any other country, and to raise awareness of potential abuses of defendants’ rights." [1]

Main activities[edit]

Amicus focuses on a number of areas of activity: Internships, Training, Case work, Events and Legal Education. In addition, the charity also hosts frequent charity social events including wine-tastings and academic panel discussions, often featuring prominent speakers.


Amicus arranges volunteer placements with US capital defence attorneys' offices. Between October 2004 and May 2007, Amicus placed 53 interns across America for internships lasting between three and eighteen months.[2] The charity now sends 20 to 30 individuals each year.[3] In addition, Amicus provides ongoing assistance to regions in crisis, such as New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

Training and legal education[edit]

Amicus runs training courses in US criminal law and procedure for individuals planning to undertake an internship position in America. Workshops held throughout the year focus on drafting amicus curiae briefs, motions and international legal applications and training for conducting research on behalf of defence attorneys.

A US Death Penalty training course runs twice a year in March and October. The course is hosted by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in London and is accredited for 26 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points with the Law Society and the Bar Council.

Amicus collaborates with the Middle Temple Library to ensure that the public has access to US constitutional and capital punishment criminal texts. The Capital Punishment Collection, a collection of historical material, textbooks, reports and personal accounts from countries around the world that still retain the death penalty is housed alongside the Library's existing American Collection - the largest collection of US legal materials in London (founded in the 1920s), both of which can be found on the third floor of the library.

Case work[edit]

At the request of capital defence attorneys, Amicus has drafted amicus curiae briefs for a number of American courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Amicus case-workers also draft motions for use before and during trials and appeals, such as motions against the use of gruesome photographs. They also assist with drafting clemency statements and petitions in a number of states.

In addition, Amicus provides experienced lawyers to argue before international courts. The jurisdiction of the Privy Council in London means that they have argued many of the issues that relate to the death penalty in the US. Amicus lawyers have, in the past, argued cases before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights [1] and drafted applications to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights [2], headquartered in Washington DC. Amicus also provides trial observers to monitor the legal process in various jurisdictions around the world.

During 2011 Amicus had approximately 200 volunteers working on eight individual cases.[4]


Amicus holds events to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the application of the death penalty in the US. Since 2004, the charity has built on its existing events programme in London and Birmingham, holding a variety of regional events and activities in Manchester, Oxford, Newcastle and Leeds.


The Amicus Journal, published quarterly, features pertinent news stories relating to death penalty issues from around the world as well as editorials, book reviews and commentaries from interns working on capital cases.

Notable speakers and affiliates[edit]



  1. ^ "More about Amicus" (PDF). 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "More about Amicus" (PDF). 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "About Lime". 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Amicus - Casework". 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.