Code of Ethics for Judges
For an effective implementation of laws it is also necessary to develop a comprehensive code of ethics for judges, police and the prosecutor. For this purpose I propose to draft a code in accordance with the following sections taken from the International Bar Association Manual.
- An independent and impartial judiciary is fundamental to the rule of law and the protection of human rights. The aim is to set out the minimum standards of judicial conduct that are applicable in every country in the world:
- Independence: Judicial independence is a pre-requisite to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial.
- A judge must uphold and exemplify judicial independence in both its individual and institutional aspects. A judge shall be independent in relation to society in general and to the particular parties to a dispute. He or she must be free from inappropriate connections with the other branches of government.
- IBA Manual, sections 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5.
- Impartiality: Impartiality is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office. It applies both to the decision itself and to the process by which the decision is made.
- A judge shall perform his or her judicial duties without favour, bias or prejudice. His or her conduct must maintain the confidence of the public, the legal profession and litigants in the impartiality of the judiciary.
- A judge shall disqualify him or herself from participating in proceedings in which he might seem to a reasonable observer to be unable to decide the matter impartially.
- IBA Manual, section 4.6.
- Integrity: Integrity is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office.
- A judge’s conduct must be above reproach in the view of a reasonable observer and must reaffirm the people’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary.
- Propriety: Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a judge.
- A judge must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of his or her activities. He must avoid situations which might reasonably give rise to the appearance of favouritism or partiality.
- Equality: Ensuring equality of treatment to all before the courts is essential to the due performance of the judicial office.
- A judge must not by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice towards any person or group on irrelevant grounds, and must require lawyers in proceedings before the court to refrain from manifesting such bias or prejudice.
- Competence and Diligence: Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office.
- The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all other activities. A judge must also keep himself or herself informed about recent developments in national and international law, including international conventions and other instruments establishing human rights norms.
Dr Ayesha Shahid who can be contacted at A.Shahid@hull.ac.uk