Judicial Code of Conduct

INTRODUCTION

An independent judiciary, upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the rights and freedoms of the individual, is fundamental to any civilised society.

In carrying out their day-to-day functions the judiciary are entrusted with the exercise of considerable power and responsibility.  Their decisions and actions can have significant effects on the lives of those who come before them.

The Judiciary of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are committed to the maintenance of the highest standards of judicial conduct and fully recognise that maintaining such standards is essential if the community is to have confidence in its judiciary.

It is intended that the publication of this Code of Judicial Conduct will help to ensure that both the judiciary and the public are aware of the principles by which the judiciary are guided in their personal and professional life.

The principles applicable to judicial conduct have three main objectives:

  • to uphold public confidence in theadministration of justice;
  • to enhance public respect for the institution of the judiciary; and
  • to protect the reputation of individual judicial officers and of the judiciary.

Building upon these principles this code seeks to provide guidance on matters with which a member of the judiciary may be faced in carrying out their duties.

Of course no code can deal with every situation with which a member of the judiciary might be faced on a day-to-day basis and the application of general principles in the many varied circumstances which may confront a member of the judiciary may not always be simple. The reality of life in the Falkland Islands which, as a small society, is at times isolated in communications and travel, means that a course of action that might be readily available to members of the judiciary in other larger jurisdictions cannot be strictly applied here. It is recognised that sometimes decisions may not be easy, and that different views might reasonably be taken as to an appropriate course of action in any given circumstance.

It is also recognised that there may be occasions when the interests of justice require that strict adherence to the principles or rules must be departed from.

Consequently, this document is not intended to be prescriptive; its aim is to set out the principles to which all members of the judiciary should seek to adhere and to provide guidance in the ways that they should carry out their duties. The primary responsibility for deciding whether a particular activity or course of conduct is appropriate rests individually with the particular member of the judiciary concerned.

Where there is doubt as to what course should be taken, members of the judiciary should consider seeking the advice of their judicial colleagues, the Senior Magistrate and/or the Chief Justice as appropriate.

In producing this code a number of judicial codes and guides relating to other countries and territories have been considered, from which considerable assistance has been obtained. Much reference has also been made to the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, a summary of which can be found at Annex A.

The principles set out in this code are applicable to all those who exercise judicial authority in the Courts of the Falkland Islands and of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, including both the professional judiciary, the lay Justices of the Peace, and members of judicial or quasi-judicial tribunals.

 

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