Guide to Judicial Conduct – Revised March 2018 (Updated September 2020)

CivilCriminalFamilyPractice Guidance

Skip to related content

This Guide to Judicial Conduct is intended to offer assistance to judges, coroners and magistrates about their conduct.

It is based on the principle that responsibility for deciding whether or not a particular activity or course of conduct is appropriate rests with each individual judge.

This Guide is therefore not a code, nor does it contain rules other than where stated. Instead, it contains a set of core principles which will help judges reach their own decisions.

The revisions explained:

RevisionPublication dateDetails
New Revision PublishedMarch 2018This revision incorporated changes ensuing from the Equality Act 2010, increased media interest in the judiciary and the legal process resulting in intensified public scrutiny of judicial conduct and decision making. It also provided new guidance on questions and concerns presented about the use of social media.
First Adjustment PublishedMarch 2019Amendment to page 19, which clarifies the Judicial Conduct Committee Investigation Office (JCIO) does not consider complaints about recusal as it relates to judicial decisions. Though, the JCIO could become involved if an appeal court determined that a failure to declare a potential conflict of interest was so serious as to raise a question of judicial misconduct.
Third Adjustment PublishedMarch 2020Amendments to pages 7&8 which refers to the publication of the message from the LCJ and SPT in September 2018 setting out expectations in respect of equality and diversity and the removal of the reference to earlier guidance superseded by it.
Fourth Adjustment PublishedSeptember 2020Amendments to page 11- footnote 11; page 17-footnote 26; and page 18-footnote 28, which updates data protection obligations and reference to how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 apply to the judiciary, which supersedes the Data Protection Act 1998. It also has amendments to page 13-footnote 18 Guidance on Judges Appearances Before Select Committees; and page 16-footnote 25 Guidance to Judicial Conduct-Reporting Minor Offences.