This is an action in lieu of prerogative writ in the nature of mandamus. Plaintiffs seek an order requiring the defendant, the Commissioner of Labor and Industry, to enforce the Factory Safety Laws, R.S. 34:6-1 et seq. , with regard to all newspaper publishing plants in the State. The position of the plaintiffs is that the act applies to all newspapers or, in the alternative, to those which produce and sell matrices and photo engravings. Generally, it is the position of the Attorney General, appearing for the defendant, that the act applies only to factories where goods are manufactured; and that newspaper plants which do not engage in manufacturing do not come within the purview of the chapter.
Application was made at pretrial, pursuant to proper notice of motion, on behalf of Publishers Bureau of New Jersey and the New Jersey Press Association, for leave to appear as amicus curiae in the action "in support of the defense of the defendant, Raymond Male."
"Publishers Bureau of New Jersey, Inc. and the New Jersey Press Association are vitally interested in maintaining that the aforesaid laws are not applicable to newspaper publishers, in that application of the aforesaid laws to newspaper publishers would work particular hardship on said newspaper publishers due to the unique nature of the newspaper publishing business."
The application for leave to appear amicus curiae is opposed by the plaintiff. The Attorney General takes no position on the application.
As the origins of the custom of appearances of amici curiae are obscure in the English Law, research meets with equal obscurity as to the origins and nature of the practice in New Jersey.
Historically, Bouvier tells us that the practice of using amicus curiae cannot be traced to its origin but is immemorial in the Common Law of England. It is apparently an evolutionary product of the Roman custom of employing advisors to the Judex and the use of amici consilliare to advise and suggest to the advocates. 1 Bouv. Law Dict., Rawle's Third Revision, p. 188. The custom as originally practiced in the English system embraced only barristers or counsellors, but by virtue of the enactment of the Statute 4 Hen. IV (1403), the applicability of the custom was extended to "bystanders." Bouvier's Law Dictionary, supra. See also United States v. Gale , 109 U.S. 65, 3 S. Ct. 1, 27 L. Ed. 857 (1883) for a further reference to the statute.
Notwithstanding the fact that appearances of amici curiae are noted throughout our reported cases, there is very little general discussion of the status, rights, obligations and limitations of amicus curiae. With this in mind, we now turn to a consideration of the present application in the light of all of the foregoing and in the light of the principles hereinafter to be set forth governing this status, its attendant rights, obligations and limitations.
Definitively, amicus curiae has been said to be one who gives information to the court on some matter of law in respect of which the court is doubtful, or who advises of certain facts or circumstances relating to a matter pending for determination. Kemp v. Rubin , 187 Misc. 707, 64 N.Y.S. 2 d 510 (Sup. Ct. 1946). This status is advisory rather than adversary and one who appears as amicus curiae has no right to except to the ruling of the court or prosecute an appeal. Givens v. Goldstein et al. , 52 A. 2 d 725 (Mun.
Ct. App. D.C. 1947); 3 C.J.S. Amicus Curiae § 3 and cases cited therein. The status is not one of right but of privilege resting solely in the sound discretion of the court. As the court stated in The Claveresk , 264 F. 276, at page 279 (2 Cir. 1920), the fact that
"application was made for the privilege of so appearing is of no personal concern to the parties, and the court may grant or refuse the request, according as it deems the ...