Judges approve conduct and ethics guidelines

Judges approve conduct and ethics guidelines

Chief Justice Donal O'Donnell

Judges have approved judicial conduct and ethics guidelines to be enforced by the Judicial Council.

Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell said the new guidelines, approved in a vote of 167 judges this morning, are “not a code”.

Writing in the foreword, he said: “They seek to promote high standards of behaviour. It will be for the judicial conduct committee to decide in the light of the Irish experience and the facts of any case whether any departure or deviation from the guidelines is of such a nature as to amount to judicial misconduct.

“The judicial conduct committee also has a function in providing advice and suggesting amendments to the guidelines, and it is to be anticipated that the guidelines and our understanding of them and the broader obligations of judicial conduct will develop over the coming years.

“However the adoption of these guidelines by the Judicial Council is an important step in the promotion of standards of behaviour which the Constitution contemplates as part of the administration of justice, in courts, by judges.

“I commend these guidelines to judges, members of the legal profession, members of the public and others having dealings with the courts, and indeed everyone who is concerned to see justice administered in a manner that achieves the high standards to which judges seek to hold themselves and which the public is entitled to expect.”

The Judicial Council has also published the draft procedures by which members of the public will be able to make a complaint alleging judicial misconduct.

Those procedures and the concomitant processes underpinning them will go into force with the commencement of the remaining sections of the Judicial Council Act 2019 in June 2012.

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