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The Use of Social Media by Judges

The topic of the use of social media by judges is complex. On the one hand, particular instances of judges using social media have led to situations where those judges have been perceived to be biased or subject to inappropriate outside influences. On the other hand, social media can create opportunities to spread the reach of judges' expertise, increase the public's understanding of the law, and foster an environment of open justice and closeness to the communities that judges serve. 

Non-binding Guidelines on the Use of Social Media by Judges

 

During the launch event of the Global Judicial Integrity Network in April 2018 and through an online survey disseminated in 2017, judges and other justice sector stakeholders from around the world expressed their concerns regarding the use of social media by members of the judiciary. This concern has also been reflected in the Declaration on Judicial Integrity, adopted at the end of the launch event and setting out the Network's priorities. In particular, the Declaration highlighted the importance of the development of guidance materials and other knowledge products to help judges address challenges to judicial integrity and independence, including those created by the emergence of new information technology tools and social media. With this in mind, the Global Judicial Integrity Network has embarked on the development of a set of international, non-binding guidelines that could (a) serve as a source of inspiration for judiciaries that are contemplating addressing the topic; and (b) inform judges on the various risks and opportunities in using social media. 

The Nonbinding Guidelines on the Use of Social Media by Judges were developed at an Expert Group Meeting that took place at the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna, Austria in November 2018, and a worldwide survey was launched in the same year to determine what specific challenges judges are facing when using social media. Please note that there are now translations available in Russian and Spanish.

The finalized Nonbinding Guidelines on the Use of Social Media by Judges intend to provide guidance to both judges and judiciaries (as well as other judicial office holders and court personnel, as applicable, given that their conduct can also have an impact on judicial integrity and public confidence in the judiciary), and to delineate a broader framework on how to guide and train judges on the use of different social media platforms consistent with international and regional standards of judicial conduct and ethics and existing codes of conduct.

 

 

Resources 

Advancing justice - and gender equality - through the Global Judicial Integrity Network
Resource Database Sources

The Global Judicial Integrity Network has compiled useful resources on social media, which are available in the online resource database.

 

Advancing justice - and gender equality - through the Global Judicial Integrity Network
Podcast: Training Judges on Social Media Use

U.S. Judge Virginia Kendall is interviewed by Roberta Solis from the Global Judicial Integrity Network on how to incorporate judges' use of social media into judicial training courses. Topics include how to structure training courses and apply existing codes of conduct to social media issues, as well as the potential concerns with judges' use of social media.

 

Advancing justice - and gender equality - through the Global Judicial Integrity Network
Podcast: Judges' Use of Social Media

Judge Barry Clarke, Regional Employment Judge in Wales and Deputy Chair of the UK Central Arbitration Committee, discusses judges' use of social media, including: common mistakes, best practices, and the dangers of the big data industry.