Principles of Judicial Ethics for Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates

Summary: The document entitled “Report of the Committee appointed to propose principles of judicial ethics for Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates” was published by the International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates in April 2010. It proposes twelve ethics principles for exercising of the judicial functions in child or youth and family matters, such as the duties of independence, impartiality and integrity of judges. Observations and explanations are made for each of these principles. Available in English, French and Spanish.

1. The role of a judge is to dispense justice within the rule of law, including conventions, international and regional declarations and rules regarding children, youth and families.

2. A judge shall exercise the judicial function so as to maintain his or her personal independence and the independence of the judiciary.

3. A judge shall be manifestly impartial, which must not be construed as being in contradiction with his or her statutory or legislative obligation to take into account the best interest of the child or youth or, should such be the case, to harmonize the latter’s interest with those of society and the victim.

4. In performing his or her judicial duties, a judge shall act with integrity.

5. A judge shall ensure that the process allows for the views of all those affected by the process to be heard, including the views of the child or youth, his or her family and, as the case may be, the defendant and the victim.

6. A judge shall strive to explain clearly the reasons of his or her decisions and to ensure that his or her decisions are understood by the child or youth and the adults into whose charge the child or youth is entrusted.

7. A judge shall manifest sensitivity and shall communicate with the child or youth and other persons involved in a manner adapted to their levels of understanding.

8. A judge shall respect the confidential character of information acquired in his or her judicial capacity and the disclosure or use of which could infringe the private life of the child or youth, of his or her family or of other persons concerned in a judicial proceeding.

9. In court and in public, a judge shall conduct himself or herself in a manner consistent with his or her judicial office and shall at all times manifest appropriate restraint.

10. A judge shall ensure that everyone before the court is treated equally and with respect, taking into account the specific characteristics of every person, particularly age, gender, social condition, or other relevant circumstances.

11. A judge shall maintain his or her professional competence, both in law and in other disciplines relevant to the performance of his or her judicial duties.

12. A judge shall act with promptness and diligence that are suited to the particular perceptions of the child or youth with regard to time.



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