Code of Judicial Ethics
Endeavouring by fulfilling the mission imposed on judges by the Constitution and Law, to contribute as successfully as possible to protecting and strengthening constitutionality and legality, to specifying in more detail the extent and content of their duties in performing the judicial function, and to assist in moulding the character of judges as high professional, independent, impartial and personally irreproachable holders of judicial authority, judges are bound to behave according to the principles of the Code of Judicial Ethics, which the general assembly of the Slovenian Association of Judges adopted on 8 June 2001 in Ljubljana.
The Code of Judicial Ethics is a record of the most important principles by which every judge shall behave.
The Code of Judicial Ethics contains professional and personal ethical rules for judges, which are enshrined in the form of principles. These principles are based on the general standpoint that judges, both individually and collectively, must respect the honour and reputation of the judicial service and endeavour to strengthen public confidence in the judiciary. The ethical principles enshrined in the Code must be interpreted and used in accordance with constitutional principles and provisions, laws and relevant case law. The Code is formed in such a way that in all principles it protects the various aspects of judicial independence, impartiality and efficiency, which are crucial for the right of everyone to fair, just and effective legal protection.
A judge shall maintain and protect his independence and the independence of the judiciary and shall not allow any encroachment that could threaten the independent performance of the judicial function.
The Code links judicial ethics with the concept of judicial independence. From the professional point of view, each judge must act in accordance with the position of a holder of state authority and in a manner that is expected of the most responsible citizens. He fulfils his professional mission with carefulness, conscientiousness, commitment and professional attentiveness. At the same time, through irreproachable conduct, which he ensures with controlled behaviour, uprightness and by protecting everyone’s personal dignity, he ensures respect for personal ethical rules. A judge’s professional and personal reputation is a guarantee of public confidence in an independent judiciary.
A judge shall perform the judicial function impartially and shall not in this allow his judgement to be subject to his inclinations, prejudices or previous convictions, political, economic or other interests, his personal knowledge of disputed facts, public demands or criticisms or other circumstances that could affect his decision in a specific case or that could encourage the appearance of such improper influence.
The Code requires a judge's impartiality in exercising the judicial function, which means impartiality from the time of receiving a case for hearing, in conducting the preparations for hearing, and in conducting proceedings to the final judgement. The latter may only be grounded on procedural material collected in the specific case.
A judge shall constantly ensure his own professional training.
A judge's professional training means that a judge is bound constantly to up-date his knowledge. The right to judicial protection, namely, also includes the right of everyone to be judged by a suitably educated judge. Regular education and training is the basis of the judge's professional standard. A judge is therefore obliged to be included in various educational programs, to broaden his legal vision and open-mindedness. This responsibility lasts the entire duration of his service as a judge. From the point of view of the principle of independence, it is sufficient for each judge himself to assess in which forms of education or training he will be included.
A judge shall demonstrate commitment to exercising the judicial function.
A judge is obliged to fulfil his professional duties zealously and to the extreme limit of his capacities. However, a judge is not unconditionally available to the state, but unconditionally committed to the exercise of the judicial function. He is obliged to be professionally attentive to problems, he must take time suitably to solve cases, he must ensure the preparation for procedural acts, he is obliged to study in detail the legal and material circumstances in cases which are submitted to him for resolution, and at the same time must ensure that proceedings do not drag on unnecessarily and must not allow other participants in a proceeding to delay proceedings. A judge's commitment to exercise of the judicial function is thus a basic condition for the effective solving of court cases.
A judge shall be included in activities that strengthen the functioning of the judiciary, guarantee legal progress and development and contribute to improving the legal system, provided this does not give rise to doubts about his impartiality in decision-making.
Judges are highly qualified lawyers, in a unique position to contribute to strengthening legal security. Within the framework of available time, a judge may independently or through judicial or other legal associations and organisations devoted to legal progress and development, speak, write, teach or in any other way contribute to legal activities, but which may not be intended solely for individuals and groups who are enforcing any interests before the courts.
A judge shall balance his private or public, paid or unpaid (»pro bono«) extra-judicial activities in such a way that it does not come into conflict with his professional duties or with the reputation and dignity of the profession of judge.
Membership of the judiciary requires a certain restraint by a judge in private and public life. A judge implements the principle of incompatibility of the judicial function in such a way that he does not accept or does not carry out activities that are incompatible with public confidence in the judge’s independence and impartiality and (or) which are incompatible with the necessary degree of commitment to a judge's work, which requires reaching decisions with all the necessary care and within a reasonable time limit.
A judge shall respect the principle of professional confidentiality in relation to personal, business and all other data which has come to his knowledge while performing his function.
Protecting the dignity, integrity and privacy of physical persons and legal entities is a central ethical principle of a judge's professional activity. A judge's discretion therefore does not only cover protecting the secrecy and confidentiality of data to which the public do not have access at all. A judge does not collect data which are personal, business or of another nature if they are not relevant to a hearing and judgement, nor does he reveal such data outside the procedure of the hearing. When he must rely on such data for his ruling, a judge is obliged to protect the dignity and privacy of all persons, in a suitably discrete manner, in oral explanation or in written justification of a court ruling.
A judge shall establish and maintain a correct and respectful attitude to associates and participants in proceedings.
A judge's attitude to associates is based on respect and equality. A judge with correct attitudes contributes to creating an atmosphere which enables successful operation of the court. A judge is obliged to transfer his knowledge and experience to younger associates and trainees.
A judge shall protect the reputation of the judiciary by personal example and in all his activities shall avoid inappropriate behaviour.
The Code binds a judge suitably to regulate his behaviour in service and outside it, whereby he shall protect the integrity of the judiciary and ensures public confidence in the judiciary. Maintaining the prestige of the judicial service is crucial for maintaining the system of authority in which judicial authority operates independently from the legislative and executive branches of power. A judge may not therefore allow his family, social or other relations to influence his judgement or his behaviour in a manner which would not be in accordance with the dignity and reputation of the judicial profession. He ensures this accordance by consistent respect for this Code.
V Slovensko sodniško društvo se lahko včlanite s pristopno izjavo, ki jo pošljete na naslov društva.