22 NYCRR 100.4(F); 100.6(B)(4)
A Town Justice, who also maintains a private law practice, has been asked by the officials of a village to preside as an arbitrator/hearing officer in a disciplinary hearing against a village police officer. The village is located outside of the town in which the judge presides.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a full-time judge from serving as an arbitrator or mediator or otherwise performing judicial functions in a private capacity, unless expressly authorized by law. 22 NYCRR 100.4(F). This prohibition, however, does not apply to the inquiring judge, who is a part-time judge.
Section 100.6(B)(4) of the Rules allow a part-time judge to accept private
employment in a municipal department or agency, provided that such employment
does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of judicial
duties. 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(4). This Committee has held that it was permissible
for a part-time lawyer-/Town Justice to serve as an arbitrator representing
the town on a three arbitrator panel in a dispute between the town and
an employee of the town. Opinion 97-53. As in Opinion 97-53, this also
is a one-time assignment and there is no conflict with the judge's duties
or any appearance of impropriety. Therefore, the Committee concludes that
the Town Justice may accept the appointment to serve as an arbitrator in
the village disciplinary matter.