2.5 – Integrity in decision-making and fairness in chairing procedures

2.5.1 Performance standards  

The integrity of the judge is the most essential component of the integrity of the judiciary as a single power [1]. Integrity becomes measurable through judges’ engagement in professional values such as proper court conduct, due diligence, respect for the procedural rights of parties, the sense of justice in decision-making and impartiality.[2]

Judge’s profession requires high standards of judgment, consistency in attitudes and issues, and judicial process management, so that parties’ trust in justice can increase. [3]

The High Judicial Council is responsible for adopting standards of judicial ethics and rules of conduct of judges, as well as for monitoring compliance with them.

In particular, the Council shall: (a) make public the standards of ethics and rules of conduct of judges; b) review the rules from time to time and, where necessary, amend them; c) Analyze the level of implementation of/ compliance with rules of ethics and publicly report on the findings.[4]

The President of the Court oversees the respect of judicial ethics and solemnity, and cooperates with the High Judicial Council on the ethical and professional evaluation of judges and oversees the judges’ work discipline and requests the initiation of an investigation when a disciplinary violation of judges is suspected in their courts[5].

 

2.5.2 Indicators of achievement

The same with the Indicators of achievement above in 2.2.2., Factor 2.2. Integrity in decision-making and fairness in chairing procedures should be oriented towards:  

  • How proper is the judge’s judicial conduct towards the parties? How were his/her actions?
  • To what level has he/she been a guarantor and impartial in the process?
  • How ethical was the language used in the communication process?
  • How convinced are the parties to the process that he/she has been prepared for the case and focused on the essence of the conflict between the parties?
  • How acceptable is the merit of decision-making?
  • Was there a complaint about the judge’s conduct and any allegations related to his judicial conduct during the proceedings?
  • Does inappropriate judicial behavior constitute a phenomenon? How many complaints have been filed in this regard?
  • What trend does the survey show about the conduct of judges as a whole?
  • What about statistics regarding complaints of dishonest behavior displayed by them?

 

2.5.3 Measurement method

A judge’s work ethics in terms of commitment and accountability is measured based on indicators derived from evaluation resources, such as: the outcome of complaints and their verification, the opinion of the chairmen and final decisions on disciplinary measures within the relevant assessment period.

The integrity of the judge, regarding his immunity from any external influence or pressure, is measured based on indicators such as: the outcome of complaints and their verification, the opinion of the chairmen and final decisions on disciplinary measures within the relevant assessment period

The impartiality of the judge in relation to his carefulness about any conflicts of interest and respect for the issues of vulnerable groups, including gender and minority equality issues, is measured based on indicators such as the use of discriminatory language, the high level of granted requests of the parties for dismissal of the judge, as well as other indicators arising from other sources of evaluation[6].

Data and statistics on complaints against judges’ judicial activity, disciplinary measures against them, opinions of the President of the Court, etc. Referral to studies, findings and reports from international, national and media organizations. Surveys and collection of opinions, also on a perception basis by various interest groups, or the public opinion at large. Surveys by judges themselves for the evaluation of judicial integrity[7].

 

 

[1] ENCJ Report- Development of minimum judicial standards V 2014-2015 adopted The Hague 5 June 2015, pp.16.

[2] CCJE Opinion no. 3 to the Attention of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the Principles Governing Judges’ Professional Conduct, in particular Ethics, Incompatible Behaviour and Impartiality 2002 and ENCJ London Declaration on Judicial Ethics.

[3] Profession of judge, Lisbon Network, Council of Europe, https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/lisbonnetwork/themis/Ethics/Paper2_en.asp

[4] Article 83 of Law no. 115/2016

[5] Article 39 of Law no. 98/2016

[6] Article 75 of Law no. 96/2016

[7]Judicial Integrity Self- Assesment Checklist developed by the UNDP, pp.5-10, 2018.http://www.summitofhighcourts2018.com/docs/presentations/JUDICIAL%20INTEGRITY%20SELF-ASSESSMENT%20CHECKLIST.pdf