In an institutional system that guarantees judicial independence and which ensures the normal functioning of judicial activities, the affirmation of principles for the professional conduct of judges can only strengthen public confidence. The working group started their work, but concluded in this report that the work should be continued in 2010.
Judicial Ethics - Principles, Values and Qualities
Society’s expectations of judges have caused the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary to reflect on the question of judicial ethics. It is concerned with striking a balance between the independence of justice [which is not a privilege], the transparency of institutions, the freedom of the press and the public’s right to information. It is also important to preserve judicial independence, free from any pressure or manipulation. This is so that the judge can maintain the impartiality and efficiency that the public expects of him.
Judicial ethics have been addressed in a positive manner, so that the duties of the judge encompass the common, founding values of the judge’s work, preventive principles and personal qualities, in response to the public’s expectations.
Independence, integrity, impartiality, reserve and discretion, diligence, respect and the ability to listen, equality of treatment, competence and transparency are the common values identified [as essential to the judicial role] (Part I). The judge also demonstrates personal qualities of wisdom, loyalty, a sense of humanity, courage, seriousness and prudence, an ability to work and an ability to listen and to communicate effectively. A judge is aware that his professional behaviour, his private life and his conduct in society have an influence on the image of justice and public confidence (Part II)
In the London Declaration the ENCJ declares that the affirmation of shared principles and values on a European level strengthens mutual understanding and thus mutual confidence between judges in the European Judicial Area. To contribute to this aim the ENCJ approved the report entitled “Judicial Ethics – Principles, Values and Qualities”, as guidelines for the conduct of European judges and it is proposed that ENCJ Members and Observers actively promote the content of the report on national and the European levels and report back to the General Assembly on their activities in this field with any comments that may have been received.