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Amicus curiae

An amicus curiae (literally, "friend of the court"; plural, amici curiae) is someone who is not
a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by a party and who assists a court by
offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case; and is typically
presented in the form of a brief. The decision on whether to consider an amicus brief lies within the
discretion of the court. The phrase amicus curiae is legal Latin.

The amicus curiae figure originates in Roman law.[1] Starting in the 9th century,it was incorporated
into English law, and it was later extended to most common law systems. Later, it was introduced
in international law, in particular concerning human rights. From there, it was integrated in some civil
law systems (it has recently been integrated into Argentina's law system and Honduras's 2010 civil
procedures code). Today, it is used by the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of
the European Union and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Legal Aid

Legal aid is a tool for accessing justice for those who cannot afford legal service on their own. The Nepalese judicial
system has agreed the notion of providing legal aid to poor, marginalized and deprived people since 1970’s. Nepal
where about one third of the total population live below the poverty line, the role and importance of legal aid is
extremely noticeable.

The constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990 had provided right to consult and to be defended by a lawyer as a
fundamental right. It had also introduced legal aid for poor and needy person as state policy. Similarly, Interim
Constitution of Nepal, 2007 stipulates – No one can be arrested without being informed, every person who is arrested
shall be produced before a judicial authority within a period of twenty four hours of such arrest, excluding the time
necessary for travel to such authority and without order from such authority they shall not be kept in custody, arrested
person has the right to consult his/her lawyer.

Institutionalization of legal aid service came across with Nepal Bar Association’s initiation in 1980s and is continued
through administration under the Supreme Court by appointing a Member of the Bar as a stipendiary advocate in
most courts. Legal Aid Act was promulgated in 1997. Legal Aid Rules, 1998 had been promulgated to regulate the
procedures in providing legal aid. Currently legal aid is covered in all 75 districts since 2009.

On the other hand, many of the non-governmental organizations working in the area of justice as well as rights of the
prisoners are providing services to the deprived groups of the prisoners and other in need of legal services. Still many
accused persons are denied of access to defence and a fair trial and they are unaware of legal aid provided by Court,
Nepal Bar Association (NBA), Central and District Legal Aid Committees, Civil societies, NGO and INGO’s. They are
not informed about their rights and legal remedies. As a result they face long imprisonment, heavy fine, depression
and lack of self-confidence. There is need of an overall assessment of the legal aid schemes and the framework that
is undertaking the operations and envisioning more effective system that serves broader interests of the deprived
communities who are considered to be the recipients of the service.

PPR Nepal is providing legal aid to different types of victims. They may be the victims of torture or victims of human
trafficking or vulnerable people or victims of witch allegation.
Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2014 (2070)

Nepal has taken a step further in the area of making its judicial outreach to cross-broader issues by
promulgating the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2014 (2070) (“MULA”). The MULA deals with the
process and requirements of providing and obtaining legal assistance between Nepal and any other
foreign country on certain legal matters. Section 5 of the MULA outlines the scope of legal
assistance that the government of Nepal can seek from any foreign country or the foreign country
can seek such assistance from the government of Nepal. Pursuant to the Section 5 of the MULA the
Nepal government and the foreign country can request to each other inter alia for the legal
assistance to (a) examine evidences, (b) serve notice, (c) carry out investigation, (d) attach the title
of any property, (e) presenting a person, (f) enforcement of judgment.
Section 3 of MULA imposes bilateral treaty and reciprocity requirement for enforcement of judgment
and providing of legal assistance. Section 3 provides a general rule that legal assistance can be
provided to a foreign country on the basis of a bilateral treaty or on the basis of reciprocity
commitment from the foreign country. Section 3, however, requires bilateral treaty as a condition for
enforcement of foreign judgment in Nepal.

Section 4 of the MULA also excludes certain matters from the scope of mutual legal
assistance. Pursuant to the Section 4 of the MULA (a) the civil case the total claim amount of which
is below Rupees one hundred thousand, (b) the criminal offence the punishment for which is less
than one year in terms of imprisonment or Rupees fifty thousand in terms of fine are not subject to
the mutual legal assistance.

We are not aware of any treaty or bilateral arrangement entered by Nepal under MULA so far.