Opinion 17-25

May 5, 2017

Dear :

       This responds to your inquiry (17-25) asking whether, as a full-time judge, you may serve on the tribunal of a not-for-profit entity as the representative of one of its constituent members. According to the entity’s bylaws, the tribunal “shall have the jurisdiction to hear and determine controversies and disputes between and among constituent members, and/or individual members, and/or the [entity itself].”

       The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a full-time judge from acting as an arbitrator or mediator or otherwise performing judicial functions in a private capacity unless expressly authorized by law (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[F]). Thus, the Committee has previously concluded that serving on a bar association’s “Professional Performance Committee” that reviews allegations of attorney misconduct, makes findings concerning such allegations, and transmits such findings to the appropriate grievance committee for further review is prohibited for a full-time judge. Similarly, serving as a member of an ecclesiastical court or as a hearing officer in a church-related disciplinary hearing is also prohibited by this Rule. Although the tribunal’s rulings would be effective only within the entity, you would be performing judicial functions in a private capacity, which is expressly prohibited by 22 NYCRR 100.4(F) for full-time judges.

       Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 07-184; 03-58; 96-76; and 92-123 which address this issue.

                                               Very truly yours,

                                     George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice

                                               Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)

                                               Committee Co-Chair


                                                Hon. Margaret T. Walsh

                                                Family Court Judge

                                                Acting Justice, Supreme Court

                                                Committee Co-Chair