Judges sign historic code of conduct
16 March 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch judges signed a code of conduct on Monday to guarantee their impartiality in cases involving family or a possible conflict of interests, the first such code signed in Dutch legal history.
16 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — Dutch judges signed a code of conduct on Monday to guarantee their impartiality in cases involving family or a possible conflict of interests, the first such code signed in Dutch legal history.
Called the Impartiality Guideline, the code has 10 recommendations spelling out how judges and magistrates must behave if a family member or former colleague is involved in a court hearing they are presiding over.
It also addresses the issue of additional functions, such as political posts a judge might have, news agency ANP reported.
But the Netherlands Association for the Judiciary (NVvR) said the recommendations were only designed as a guide and were drawn up to place judges on "permanent alert to guarantee judicial impartiality".
The NVvR said every judge has a social background and personal life philosophy and that his or her professionalism can thus be found in the ability to distance oneself from the personal sphere during a court hearing.
But it also said that due to the fact judges work in a glasshouse-type arena, they must be conscious of the fact that society is continually assessing their impartiality.
Discussions within the judiciary over integrity, additional functions and conduct regulations led the NVvR two years ago to assign a workgroup the task of creating the code of conduct, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
Both the Dutch layers association (Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten) and the Public Prosecution (OM) has welcomed the finalised code of conduct.
Governing coalition party Democrat D66 and main opposition party Labour PvdA said the code was not strict enough, claiming that the combination of a court appointment and an additional political function should be banned.
Instead, the code stipulates that judges must be aware their that impartiality might be influenced if they also have a political function. It also states that there must be no doubt about impartiality.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news