‘Judges guided by ethical principles of professional conduct’
On 5 June the General Assembly of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) gathering in The Hague, will adopt the report Minimum Judicial Standards; Disciplinary proceedings and liability of judges. The Project Team on the development of minimum judicial standards was established by the ENCJ in September 2014 as a result of the ENJC work plan 2014-2015
According to the ENCJ the identification of minimum judicial standards and relevant indicators in particular fields of the justice sector, provides a tool for self-evaluation for judicial systems and will further the improvement of the judicial systems in Europe. This will also support the development of independent Councils for the Judiciary and contribute to the attainment of a European judicial culture.
The main objectives of the Project Team on the development of minimum judicial standards were to advance a set of minimum standards and relevant indicators in the field of disciplinary liability of judges and disciplinary procedures against members of the Judiciary, and to provide a tool which can be used by national judicial authorities, Councils for the Judiciary and other State powers when assessing their existing system of disciplinary liability or planning any reforms in relation thereto.
The Project Team considered that judges should be guided by ethical principles of professional conduct, which include duties and responsibilities breach of which may be sanctioned by disciplinary measures. Judges should not be liable to civil or disciplinary liability in respect of their interpretation of the law, their assessment of facts or their weighing of evidence in determining a case, save for cases of malice or gross negligence. Any disciplinary measures and procedures should be regulated by law. Disciplinary procedures established to provide for the accountability of the Judiciary must not be allowed to become a means of intimidating judges.