October 19, 2006
Digest: A full-time judge is permitted to represent him/herself in an automobile warranty arbitration proceeding and may solicit an affidavit from a mechanic to support the claim.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2(C), 100.4(G); Opinions 05-85; 99-114 (Vol. XVIII).
A full-time judge inquires about representing him/herself in an arbitration proceeding held under the auspices of the Attorney General’s Office. The judge will challenge a determination that certain repairs to an automobile co-owned by the judge and the judge’s spouse are not covered under warranty. In addition, the judge intends to seek an affidavit from a mechanic who regularly services the car to explain why the warranty claim is valid.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct state: “A full-time judge shall not practice law. Notwithstanding this prohibition, a judge may act pro se and may, without compensation, give legal advice to a member of the judge’s family.” 22 NYCRR 100.4(G). See Opinions 05-85; 99-114 (Vol. XVIII).
Thus, it follows that a full-time judge is permitted to represent him/herself in a warranty arbitration in the Attorney General’s office involving an automobile co-owned by the judge and the judge’s spouse. The judge may also solicit an affidavit from a mechanic to support he judge’s claim. In pursuing the claim, however, the judge should not invoke or volunteer his/her judicial title or otherwise lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the issues to be addressed in the arbitration. 22 NYCRR 100.2(C).