Following the launch event, the
Advisory Board of the Global Judicial Integrity Network developed the Network's 2018-2019 workplan and decided, among other priority areas, to use the potential of the Network to develop a practical guide on how to develop codes of judicial conduct.
Judicial integrity is a cornerstone of strong judicial systems and a necessary prerequisite for the rule of law, the right to a fair trial and the public trust in the judiciary. Existing international standards and best practices provide a number of techniques that can be adopted to strengthen the integrity of the judiciary and prevent corruption in the justice sector. The practice promoted in this guide is the adoption of a code of judicial conduct.
The main international instrument promoting the adoption of codes of judicial conduct is the
United Nations Convention against Corruption. In its article 11, the Convention states that: "
bearing in mind the independence of the judiciary and its crucial role in combating corruption, each State Party shall, in accordance with the fundamental principles of its legal system and without prejudice to judicial independence, take measures to strengthen integrity and to prevent opportunities for corruption among the members of the judiciary. Such measures may include rules with respect to the conduct of members of the judiciary". The fact that the adoption of a code of judicial conduct is a measure explicitly promoted in the text of the Convention shows that Member States considered it to be a crucial aspect of the efforts to strengthen judicial integrity.
This guide intends to provide practical information on how to draft, approve and enforce a code of conduct for the judiciary. Its purpose is twofold, namely: a) to offer advice on the procedural steps that could be considered when developing a code of conduct and developing mechanisms to enforce it ("How"); and b) to provide guidance on the possible substantive content, based on the content of the
Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and relevant examples from other regional and national instruments, as well as on the possible structure and scope of the code ("What").
It should be noted at the outset that it is not intended for this guide to be prescriptive as to the concrete procedural steps, terminology, legal nature, structure, scope and enforcement measures. This guide only promotes that it is important to adopt an instrument that establishes and clarifies standards of behaviour for judges and to set up institutional mechanisms for enforcing the instrument.