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Judiciary Law


Excerpts from the Judiciary Law relating to (a) the Committee's creation and powers, (b) statutory grounds for disqualification of a judge and (c) practice of law by a part-time judge are provided below for your convenience.

Please visit http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us to view the official text of the statute.

 

ACJE Creation and Powers

The enabling legislation associated with the creation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics is found in Article 7-A of the Judiciary Law. The pertinent text of that statute (as of January 2009) reads as follows:

Article 7-A - JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

§ 212. Functions of the chief administrator of the courts.

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2. The chief administrator shall also:

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(l) Establish a panel which shall issue advisory opinions to judges and justices of the unified court system upon the request of any one judge or justice, concerning one or more issues related to ethical conduct or proper execution of judicial duties or possible conflicts between private interests and official duties.

(i) The panel shall have no executive, administrative or appointive duties except as provided otherwise in this paragraph or in rules and regulations adopted to implement this paragraph. The panel shall consist of such number of members who possess such qualifications and serve for such terms as the rules and regulations shall provide. Each member shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of his or her official duties for the panel. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of this or any other law, general, special or local, no officer or employee of the state or any public corporation, as defined in article two-A of the general construction law, shall be deemed to have forfeited or shall forfeit his office or employment or any benefits provided under the retirement and social security law or under any public retirement system maintained by the state or any of its subdivisions by reason of his or her being a member of the panel.

(ii) The panel shall issue a written advisory opinion to the judge or justice making the request based upon the particular facts and circumstances of the case, which shall be detailed in the request and in any additional material supplied by the judge or justice at the instance of the panel. If the individual facts and circumstances provided are insufficient in detail to enable the panel to render an advisory opinion, the panel shall request supplementary information from the judge or justice to enable it to render such opinion. If such supplementary information is still insufficient or is not provided, the panel shall so state and shall not render an advisory opinion based upon what it considers to be insufficient detail.

(iii) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, requests for advisory opinions, advisory opinions issued by the panel to an individual judge or justice of the unified court system, and the facts and circumstances upon which they are based, shall be and remain confidential between the panel and the individual judge or justice making the request; provided, however, that the panel shall publish its advisory opinion and the facts and circumstances upon which it is based with appropriate deletions of names of persons, places and things which might tend to identify either the judge or justice making the request or any other judge or justice of the unified court system; and deliberations of the panel shall be and remain totally confidential.

(iv) Actions of any judge or justice of the uniform court system taken in accordance with findings or recommendations contained in an advisory opinion issued by the panel shall be presumed proper for the purposes of any subsequent investigation by the state commission on judicial conduct.

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Statutory Grounds for Disqualification

Certain mandatory grounds for disqualification are set forth in Section 14 of the Judiciary Law. The text of that provision (as of January 2009) reads as follows:

Article 2 - GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO COURTS AND JUDGES

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§ 14. Disqualification of judge by reason of interest or consanguinity.

A judge shall not sit as such in, or take any part in the decision of, an action, claim, matter, motion or proceeding to which he is a party, or in which he has been attorney or counsel, or in which he is interested, or if he is related by consanguinity or affinity to any party to the controversy within the sixth degree. The degree shall be ascertained by ascending from the judge to the common ancestor, descending to the party, counting a degree for each person in both lines, including the judge and party, and excluding the common ancestor. But no judge of a court of record shall be disqualified in any action, claim, matter, motion or proceeding in which an insurance company is a party or is interested by reason of his being a policy holder therein. No judge shall be deemed disqualified from passing upon any litigation before him because of his ownership of shares of stock or other securities of a corporate litigant, provided that the parties, by their attorneys, in writing, or in open court upon the record, waive any claim as to disqualification of the judge.

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Practice of Law by a Part-Time Judge

Certain provisions regarding practice of law by a part-time judge and his/her associates are set forth in Sections 16-17 and 471 of the Judiciary Law. The text of those provisions (as of February 2014) reads as follows:

Article 2 - GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO COURTS AND JUDGES

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§ 16. Judge prohibited from practicing law in his court.

A judge shall not practice or act as an attorney or counsellor in a court of which he is, or is entitled to act as a member, or in an action, claim, matter, motion or proceeding originating in that court.

§ 17. Judge prohibited from practicing in cause which has been before him.

A judge or surrogate or former judge or surrogate shall not act as attorney or counsellor in any action, claim, matter, motion or proceeding, which has been before him in his official character.

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Article 15 - ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELLORS

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§ 471. Attorney who is judge's partner or clerk prohibited from practicing before him or in his court.

The law partner or clerk of a judge shall not practice before him, as attorney or counsellor in any cause, or be employed in any cause which originated before him. A law partner of, or person connected in law business with a judge, shall not practice or act as an attorney or counsellor, in a court, of which the judge is, or is entitled to act as a member, or in a cause originating in that court; except where the latter is a member of a court, ex officio, and does not officiate or take part, as a member of that court, in any of the proceedings therein.

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