Supreme Court’s instructions on judges’ code of conduct
Forty observations of the Supreme Court about the code of conduct of its judges:
(1) A Judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and should personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.
(2) A Judge should respect and comply with the constitution and law, and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary.
(3) A Judge should not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A Judge should not lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of others; nor convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the Judge.
(4) A Judge should be faithful to and maintain professional competence in the law, and should not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.
(5) A Judge should be patient, dignified, respectful, and courteous to litigants, lawyers, and others with whom the Judge deals in an official capacity, and should require similar conduct of those officers to the Judge’s control, including lawyers to the extent consistent with their role in adversarial system.
(6) A Judge should dispose of promptly the business of the court including avoiding inordinate delay in delivering judgments/orders. In no case a judgment shall be signed not later than six months of the date of delivery of judgment in exceptional cases.
(7) A Judge should avoid public comment on the merit of a pending or impending Court case.
(8) A Judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the Judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
(9) A Judge shall disqualify to hear a matter/cause where he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom the Judge previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the Judge or such lawyer has been a material witness.
(10) A Judge shall not hear any matter if he knows or if he is aware or if it is brought into his notice that, individually or as a fiduciary, the Judge or the Judge’s spouse or minor child residing in the Judge’s household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be affected substantially by the outcome of the proceeding.
(11) A Judge requires as degree of detachment and objectivity in judicial dispensation and he is duty bound by the oath of office.
(12) A Judge should practise a degree of aloofness consistent with the dignity of his office.
(13) A Judge must not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination before him.
(14) A Judge should not engage directly or indirectly in trade or business, either by himself or in association with any other person.
(15) A Judge must at all times be conscious that he is under the public gaze and there should be no act or omission by him which is unbecoming of his office and the public esteem in which that office is held.
(16) A Judge should not engage in any political activities, whatsoever in the country and abroad.
(17) A Judge shall disclose his assets and liabilities if, asked for, by the Chief Justice.
(18) Justice must not merely be done but it must also be seen to be done. The behaviour and conduct of a member of the higher judiciary must reaffirm the people’s faith in the impartiality of the judiciary. Accordingly, any act of a Judge, whether in official or personal capacity, which erodes the credibility of this perception has to be avoided.
(19) Close association with individual members of the Bar, particularly those who practice in the same court, shall be eschewed.
(20) A Judge should not permit any member of his immediate family, such as spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law or daughter-in-law or any other close relative, if a member of the Bar, to appear before him or even be associated in any manner with a cause to be dealt with by him.
(21) No member of his family, who is a member of the Bar, shall be permitted to use the residence in which the Judge actually resides or other facilities for professional work.
(22) A Judge shall not hear and decide a matter in which a member of his family, a close relation or a friend is concerned.
(23) A Judge shall not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination.
(24) A Judge is expected to let his judgments speak for themselves. He shall not give interviews to the media.
(25) A Judge shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in any proceedings in which the Judge is unable to decide the matter impartially or in which it may appear to a reasonable observer that the Judge is unable to decide the matter impartially. Such proceedings include, but are not limited to, instances where the Judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings; the Judge previously served as a lawyer or was a material witness in the matter in controversy; or the Judge, or a member of a Judge’s family has an economic interest in the outcome of the matter in controversy.
(26) A Judge shall ensure that his or her conduct is above reproach in the view of a reasonable observer.
(27) The behavior and conduct of a Judge must reaffirm the people’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary.
(28) A Judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the Judge’s activities.
(29) As a subject of constant public scrutiny, a Judge must accept personal restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly. In particular, a Judge shall conduct himself or herself in a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office.
(30) A Judge shall, in his or her personal relations with individual members of the legal profession who practice regularly in the Judge’s court, avoid situations which might reasonably give rise to the suspicion or appearance of favoritism or partiality.
(31) A Judge shall not participate in the determination of a case in which any member of the Judge’s family represents a litigant or is associated in any manner with the case.
(32) A Judge shall not allow the use of the judge’s residence by a member of the legal profession to receive clients or other members of the legal profession.
(33) A Judge shall not allow the Judge’s family, social or other relationships improperly to influence the Judge’s judicial conduct and judgment as a Judge.
(34) A Judge shall not use or lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of the Judge, a member of the Judge’s family or of anyone else, nor shall a Judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that anyone is in a special position improperly to influence the Judge in the performance of judicial duties.
(35) A Judge shall not practice law whilst the holder of judicial office.
(36) A Judge and members of the Judge’s family, shall neither ask for, nor accept, any gift, bequest, loan or favor in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done by the Judge in connection with the performance of judicial duties.
(37) A Judge shall not knowingly permit court staff or others subject to the Judge’s influence, direction or authority, to ask for, or accept, any gift, bequest, loan or favor in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done in connection with his or her duties or functions.
(38) A Judge shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness.
(39) A Judge shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the court and be patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the Judge deals in an official capacity. The Judge shall require similar conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others subject to the judge’s influence, direction or control.
(40) A Judge shall not engage in conduct incompatible with the diligent discharge of judicial duties.