Codes of conduct for judges
This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union.
Could you please provide good practice examples of codes of conduct for judges?
1. Judicial corruption and ethical standards
2. Content, underlying values and the Bangalore principles
3. Examples of codes of conduct
4. Implementation and enforcement
Corruption in the judiciary seriously impedes effective prosecution of corruption cases – denying the accused and victims the right to a fair and impartial trial, fuelling impunity, and undermining the rule of law. Many countries have set out standards of ethical conduct to be expected by judges in codes of conduct that have been developed as a tool to strengthen judicial integrity and complement existing regulations.
The Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, which were adopted by the Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity and endorsed by several UN bodies1, provide guidance for regulating judicial conduct and are widely recognised as an international standard of good practice. Most codes adopted in the last decade are structured around the six underlying values of the Bangalore principles, namely: independence, impartiality, integrity, propriety, equality, and competence and diligence.
The content of the various codes may be similar, but there are notable distinctions in the way these codes are implemented and enforced; some codes have a normative power (often in common law countries) whereas others are used a guiding document for judges. Regardless of the enforcement mechanism, it is generally recognised that without training and buy-in, the codes have little impact on judicial conduct.
AuthorsSofia Wickberg, Transparency International, [email protected]