LAW RESOURCE INDIA

The Bangalore Draft Principles on Judicial Ethics 2002

Posted in JUDICIAL REFORMS, JUDICIARY, JUSTICE by NNLRJ INDIA on November 12, 2009

The values of judicial ethics which the Bangalore Principles crystallises are :

(i) independence

(ii) impartiality ,

(iii) integrity,

(iv) propriety

(v) equality

(vi) competence & diligence.

The above values have been further developed in the Bangalore Principles as under:-
Judicial independence is a pre-requisite to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial.  A judge shall therefore uphold and exemplify judicial independence in both its individual and institutional aspects.

Impartiality is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office.  It applies not only to the decision itself but also to the process by which the decision is made.

Integrity is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office.

Propriety, and the appearance of propriety, are essential to the performance of all of the activities of a judge.

Ensuring equality of treatment to all before the courts is essential to the due performance of the judicial office.

Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office.

(vii)   Implementation – By reason of the nature of judicial office, effective measures shall be adopted by national judiciaries to provide mechanisms to implement these principles if such mechanisms are not already in existence in their jurisdictions.

The Preamble to the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct states inter alia that the principles are intended to establish standards for ethical conduct of judges.  They are designed to provide guidance to judges and to afford the judiciary a framework for regulating judicial conduct.  They are also intended to assist members of the executive and the legislature, and lawyers and the public in general, to better understand and support the judiciary.  These principles presuppose that judges are accountable for their conduct to appropriate institutions established to maintain judicial standards, which are themselves independent and impartial, and are intended to supplement and not to derogate from existing rules of law and conduct which bind the judge.   There are a few interesting facts relating to the Bangalore Principles.  The first meeting to prepare the Draft Principles was held in Vienna in April 2000 on the invitation of the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention, and in conjunction with several other institutions concerned with justice administration.  In preparing the draft Code of Judicial Conduct, the core considerations which recur in such codes were kept in view.    Several existing codes and international instruments more than three in number including the Restatement of Values of Judicial Life adopted by the Indian judiciary in 1999 were taken into consideration.  At the second meeting held in Bangalore in February 2001, the draft was given a shape developed by judges drawn principally from Common Law countries.  It was thought essential that it will be scrutinized by judges of all other legal traditions to enable it to assume the status of a duly authenticated international code of judicial conduct.  The Bangalore Draft was widely disseminated amongst judges of both common law and civil law systems and discussed at several judicial conferences.  The draft underwent a few revisions and was finally approved by a Round-Table Meeting of Chief Justices (or their representatives) from several law system, held in Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, in November 2002.  ‘Accountability’ as one of the principles which was included in the original draft was dropped in the final draft.  It is apparently for two reasons.  Firstly, it was thought that the principles enshrined in the Bangalore Principles presuppose the ‘accountability’  on the part of the judges and are inherent in those principles.  Secondly, the mechanism and methodology of ‘accountability’ may differ from country to country and therefore left to be taken care of individually by the participating jurisdictions.

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