Code of Judicial Conduct: APPENDIX TO PART I

Including Amendments Effective September 4, 2012

[ Note: The following Code of Judicial Conduct of the American Bar Association, as amended by the New Jersey Supreme Court, replaces the Canons of Judicial Ethics of the American Bar Association.]

Canon 1. A Judge Should Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary

An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should personally observe, high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective.

Canon 2. A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All Activities

Commentary: Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety and must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny. A judge must therefore accept restrictions on personal conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly.

The testimony of a judge as a character witness injects the prestige of the office into the proceeding in which the judge testifies and may be misunderstood to be an official testimonial. This Canon, however, does not afford a judge a privilege against testifying as a witness as to evidentiary facts of which the judge has personal knowledge.

Organizations dedicated to the preservation of religious, spiritual, charitable, civic or cultural values, that do not stigmatize any excluded persons as inferior and therefore unworthy of membership are not considered to discriminate invidiously.

Canon 3. A Judge Should Perform the Duties of Judicial Office Impartially and Diligently

The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all other activities. Judicial duties include all the duties of the office prescribed by law. In the performance of these duties, the following standards apply:

A. Adjudicative Responsibilities.

B. Administrative Responsibilities.

Commentary: Appointees of the judge include officials such as commissioners, receivers, guardians and personnel such as clerks and secretaries. Consent by the parties to an appointment or to the fixing of compensation does not relieve the judge of the obligation prescribed by this subsection.

C. Disqualification. (see R. 1:12-1)

D. Remittal of Disqualification. A judge disqualified by the terms of this Canon may not avoid disqualification by disclosing on the record the disqualifying interest and securing the consent of the parties.

Commentary: This provision is designed to avoid the chance that a party or lawyer will feel coerced into consent.

Canon 4. A Judge May Engage in Activities to Improve the Law, the Legal System, and the Administration of Justice

A judge, subject to the proper performance of judicial duties, may engage in the following quasi-judicial activities if in doing so the judge does not cast doubt on the judge's capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before the court and provided the judge is not compensated therefor:

Commentary: As a judicial officer and person specially learned in the law, a judge is in a unique position to contribute to the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, including revision of substantive and procedural law and improvement of criminal and juvenile justice. To the extent that time permits, a judge is encouraged to do so through a bar association, judicial conference, other organization dedicated to the improvement of the law or through an appropriate judicial official charged with administrative responsibility by the Rules of Court.

A full-time judge should not serve as an officer, trustee, or committee member of a local or state bar association, except that full-time judges may serve on committees of the New Jersey State Bar Association, subject to such conditions as determined by the Supreme Court. Extra-judicial activities are governed by Canon 5.

Canon 5. A Judge Shall so Conduct the Judge's Extra-Judicial Activities as to Minimize the Risk of Conflict With Judicial Obligations

Commentary: A judge's obligations as a fiduciary and under this Canon generally may come into conflict. For example, a judge should resign as trustee if it would result in detriment to the trust to divest it of holdings whose retention would place the judge in violation of Canon 5D(3).

F. Arbitration. A judge shall not act as an arbitrator or mediator.

G. Practice of Law. A judge shall not practice law, with or without compensation.

H. Extra-Judicial Appointments. A judge shall not accept appointment to a governmental committee, commission, or other position except with prior approval of the Supreme Court as provided in the Rules of Court.

Commentary: Valuable services have been rendered in the past to the states and the nation by judges appointed by the executive to undertake important extra-judicial assignments. The appropriateness of conferring these assignments on judges must be reassessed, however, in light of the demands on judicial manpower created by today's crowded dockets and the need to protect the courts from involvement in extra-judicial matters that may prove to be controversial. Judges should not be expected or permitted to accept governmental appointments that could interfere with the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary. See Guidelines for Extrajudicial Activities for New Jersey Judges.

Canon 6. A Judge Shall Not Receive Compensation for Quasi-Judicial and Extra-Judicial Activities

A judge may not receive compensation for the quasi-judicial and extra-judicial activities permitted by this Code but may receive reimbursement of actual expenses that the judge reasonably incurred for travel, food, and lodging, provided that the source of such payments does not give the appearance of influencing the judge in the exercise of judicial duties or otherwise give the appearance of impropriety.


When a judge who is a beneficiary of an estate serves as an executor or administrator as permitted by Canon 5E and receives a fee solely for the purpose of reducing the tax liability of the estate, receipt of that fee does not constitute "compensation" under Canon 6.

Canon 7. A Judge Shall Refrain From Political Activity


Compliance With the Code of Judicial Conduct

All judges shall comply with this Code except as provided below.

Note: The foregoing Code of Judicial Conduct of the American Bar Association, as amended by the New Jersey Supreme Court, adopted April 3, 1974, to be effective immediately; caption “Applicability” added and new paragraph A.(3) adopted to be effective September 8, 1980; new subparagraph 3A(7)(b) adopted October 8, 1980, to be effective immediately; subparagraph 3A(7)(b) amended June 9, 1981 to be effective immediately; new subparagraph 3A(4) adopted October 26, 1987, to be effective January 1, 1988 (with remaining subparagraphs of 3A renumbered accordingly); paragraphs 4(B) and 4(C) and commentary to Canon 4 amended October 26, 1987, to be effective January 1, 1988; paragraphs A(3) and B of Applicability section amended October26, 1987, to be effective January 1, 1988; entire code and commentary amended October 26, 1987 so as to be degenderize, effective January 1, 1988; subparagraph 5A(2) amended February 1, 1988 to be effective immediately; commentary to Canon 4 amended February 1, 1988, to be effective immediately; subparagraph 3A(4) amended July 18, 1990, to be effective September 4, 1990; paragraph A(1) of Applicability section amended December 20, 1990 to be effective immediately; paragraphs 2B, 3A(3), 3A(4), 3A(8), 3A(8)(b), 3B(1), 3B(2), 3B(3), 3B(4), 3C(1)(a), 3C(1)(c), 3C(2), 5B(2), 5B(3), 5C(2), 5C(4), 5D, 5E, 5F, 5G, 6, 7, and Applicability paragraph and headings to paragraphs 5, 6, 7 amended and new paragraphs 2C, 3A(5), 3A(10), 3B(3)(a), 3B(3)(b), 3B(3)(c), 5A (with remaining subparagraphs of 3 and 5 renumbered accordingly), adopted July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994; commentary to Canon 6 adopted March 12, 2002 to be effective immediately; former paragraph 3C(1)(d) redesignated as paragraph 3C(1)(e), new paragraph 3C(1)(d) and related commentary to Canon 3 adopted, paragraph 7A(3) and 7A(4) amended, and paragraph 7D adopted July 19, 2012 to be effective September 4, 2012.