Ethics Codes USA
Ethics Codes Global
With just a few exceptions, the list below tries
to concentrate on ethics codes, codes of conduct, and canons written for
non-judicial or administrative court employees. The national
directories published by the ABA and Cornell for example are heavily
weighted toward codes for judges and attorneys rather than non-judicial court
employees. If any states or jurisdictions have adopted
codes for non-judicial court staff not listed here, we would be happy to publish them. Please e-mail or mail copies to Karl Thoennes at the address shown
on the Contacts page.
Recent additions: Ft. Peck
Tribal Court (Montana)
- Code of Ethics for Court Clerks; North Carolina - Code for Family Court
Clerks; Kentucky - Drug Court Employees Code of Ethics; Kaw Nation
Tribal Court (Oklahoma) - Rules and Code of Ethics for the Court; Florida
- Code of Ethics for Court Staff, 8th Circuit; added December 2012.
United States. In October 2007 the National
Association for Court Management (NACM) adopted a new Model Code of Conduct for Court Professionals. The
2007 model code was also endorsed by the Conference of State Court
Administrators soon after. The 2007 version replaced NACM's original Model Code of Conduct
adopted around 1989/1990.
United States (all 50 States). The
Bar Association publishes a comprehensive state-by state list of ethics
codes, professional conduct codes, ethics enforcement structures, and ethics
advisory opinions primarily for attorneys and judges. The list also
includes a few codes or canons for court staff, paralegals, and others.
United States (all 50 States).
Judicature Society, Model Code of Conduct for Nonjudicial Court Employees.
The AJS Model Code was developed in the late 1980's and a very
close version was adopted by the Conference of State Court Administrators in
1993 (see below). Even though the AJS Model Code is relatively old
now, it's still a very useful reference, contains a lot of the central
components of ethics codes for court employees, and was pretty
ground-breaking or foundational at the time. If AJS ever changes or
withdraws the preceding link, a Word version is archived
United States (all 50 States). Cornell
Law School's American Legal Ethics Library publishes a catalog of canons, codes, opinions, and ethics enforcement structures in
all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, the
materials do concentrate on ethics for judges and attorneys and generally do
not include codes for administrative or clerical court employees.
United States, Conference of State Court
Administrators. Model Code of Conduct
for Nonjudicial Court Employees. Adopted c. 1993. Based
on the AJS Model Code. Thanks to The Ethics Fieldbook: Tools for
Trainers, Cynthia Kelly Conlon and Lisa Milord, American Judicature
Society/State Justice Institute, for reprinting the COSCA model code in the
appendix to their work (1996).
United States. The American Bar Association's
of Judicial Conduct includes provisions that
apply to non-judicial court employees through the judges. The American Bar Association adopted a
substantially revised Model Code,
including a supervisory section that refers to court staff. There was
significant debate about the revision at the time, and even years later, not
all states have adopted the revisions. The section on judicial
supervision of court staff appears as Rule 2.12 Supervisory Duties.
Alaska [tribal court]. Tanana Valley Chiefs
Seven on Judicial Ethics, compiled by the Chiefs Conference and Lisa
Jaeger, Fairbanks, Alaska 2002. Includes an oath and ethics code that
specifically applies to both judges and court employees. The
University of Oklahoma Law Library and the National Indian Law Library of
the Native American Rights Fund have published an extensive collection of
tribal court documents and references on their site, including this
Arizona. Arizona's Code of Conduct for Court
Employees (1997) can be found on the National Center for State Court's
nationwide index (found on the "Ethics Links" page on this
website) or by clicking
on this link.
Arizona's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee also published an ethics
advisory opinion on charitable activities of judges and court/administrative
employees which can be found at this link.
Superior Court, 12 tenets for court employees.
Ethics for Court Employees,
adopted 1994; same as Glenn Superior Court but also includes a series of
guidelines for each tenet.
Colorado. Colorado does not have an ethics code
for court employees, but like many states, its personnel rules do address a
number of ethics and conduct issues. For example, the Colorado
Judicial System Personnel Rules address outside employment and political
activity in Part 5.
Connecticut. Thanks very much to Martin
Libbin, Deputy Director of Legal Services for the State of Connecticut
Judicial Branch for sending us the materials for Connecticut. If you
click this link
you'll find a set of ethics-related documents for the courts in
Connecticut. The set includes Ethics and Conduct for Judicial
Marshals, an Employee Conduct human resources policy for Court Support
Services, a dress code for court employees in general, a secondary
employment request form, and sections from the Administrative Policy and
Procedures Manual, 602 Code of Ethics, and 603 Receipt of Gifts.
(Connecticut also sent their interpreter code, which appears separately on
the Interpreter page on this website.) The pdf document is 819KB, so
the download may take a minute depending on your connection speed.
Circuit, Palm Beach. This is a 1992 order simply adopting the
American Judicature Society's Model Code for non-judicial court employees in
the 15th Circuit. A commentary and the latest version of the AJS
model code for court employees can be found at
Judicial Circuit, Broward County. Adopted March 10, 2004. This ethics code is actually an
excerpt from the Clerk of Court's Procurement Code.
Disclosure of Financial
Interests and Clients represented before Agencies 2007 Florida
Ethics, Seminole County, Clerk of the Circuit Court. If
the first link doesn't work, the file is also saved
at this link
Code of Ethics for Court Staff, 8th Judicial Circuit, Gainesville,
Ft. Peck Tribal Court, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes
Ethics for Court Clerks The Tribes' general website can also
be found at this link: Fort Peck Tribal
Professional Ethics taken from the Idaho Clerk of District Court
Code of Professional Conduct for Illinois Probation/Court Services Employees
Kaw Nation Tribal Court (Oklahoma). A
summary of the ethics code for judges and court employees can be found at
this web page: Rules & Code of
Ethics for the Court but a more extensive, full version of the code can
be found here: Kaw Tribal Court
Ethics.pdf This code has an interesting section on
technology (last page).
Drug Court Employee Code of Ethics. (Adopting a separate or
specialized code of ethics for drug court employees may be a common practice
lately, but this is the first example we've found so far.)
on Standards of Conduct, State of Maryland Judiciary Adopted or
issued December 2005. Also posted on the Maryland Court website at
link. Contains many of the same typical elements as a code of
conduct for court employees, but appears to be drafted a little more closely
in the form of a personnel policy; for example, the website link is posted in
the Maryland Courts' human resource (HR) policy directory.
Code of Ethics
for Employees of the Maryland Courts. DRAFT only; this
document is only a draft and has not been adopted as of February 2007.
Largely based on California's format listed above. Not sure what
relationship this draft has to the Policy on Standards of Conduct posted
Massachusetts Financial Disclosure Law requires certain state, county,
and municipal employees to file their financial interest statements with the
Massachusetts State Ethics Commission. This can also be found online by
Code of Conduct (Word document). Adopted 2002, as a section
within the Montana Judicial Branch/Personnel Policies and Procedures.
Nebraska. Nebraska's Code
of Judicial Conduct adopted 1992. This is a
48-page very detailed code of judicial conduct generally (but not entirely)
based on the American Bar Association's (ABA's) Model Code. It is
included here because like Washington below, Nebraska's code applies by
extension to court employees "subject to the judge's direction and
of Conduct for Judiciary Employees This (archived) 2008 version is
more extensive than the New Jersey Code of Conduct posted here
previously, and includes commentaries and a list of advisory opinions on
a number of topics and questions. Thanks very much to Beth Urban, Court
System HR director in South Dakota for this reference. This code was
initially adopted in December 1993,
amended March 1999, and last revised in 2008. As of 2012, the code is
also published at this link by the New Jersey Courts:
Conduct for Judiciary Employees.
Here is a
a more complete set of Rules Governing Conduct of Non-Judicial Court
Employees, as well as standards and administrative policies regarding
Financial Disclosure by Judges and Non-Judicial Employees and the
Establishment of an Ethics Commission.
Nevada. Model Code of
Conduct for Judicial Employees. Adopted or last revised March
2004, by the Judicial Council of the State of Nevada. May or may not
be approved for use in all jurisdictions. Thanks very much to Michael
Bell, Manager of the Judicial Education Division for the Administrative
Office of the Court in Carson City, Nevada.
Nooksak Indian Tribe (near Bellingham,
Washington). This one isn't exactly an ethics code, but the tribe has
published a short but refreshingly clear and straightforward statement on
the duties of a court clerk, including a clerk's ethical duties. The
tribe's website can be found at
this link or view the statement itself in
this Word document.
Ohio (Supreme Court). Employee Code of Ethics.
Thanks very much to Rick Dove, Director of Attorney Services for the Ohio
Supreme Court. Rick sent this note with the code: "[This
is] a copy of the Employee Code of Ethics adopted by the Supreme Court of
Ohio for its employees (we are not a unified state so the Code applies only
to Supreme Court employees, although some local courts have adopted their
own codes/policies). We have had a conduct code since at least 1990,
and the attached is the most recent version adopted by the Court in 2003.
We also conduct a half-day new employee orientation program that includes a
20 minute overview of this Code, the state ethics law (applicable to all
government employees and officials), and the Code of Professional
Responsibility (for employees who are lawyers).
Code of Conduct for
Employees of the Unified Judicial System Adopted by the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court in October 2010. This is an interesting
code for a few reasons. Contains most of the same topic areas as many
other codes, but also contains some interesting variations, for example, the
political activity section includes a dissent from some members of the
Supreme Court. Also contains a relatively rare provision requiring
personal financial statements from court employees, like New York.
Judicial System Personnel Rules. Adopted 1998. Like a
number of other states, South Dakota has not adopted an ethics code
specifically for court employees although its personnel rules do contain a
number of provisions typically found in ethics codes. Scroll down to
page 93, Chapter 9, "Conduct," for sections on nepotism, political
activity, outside employment, etc.
South Dakota Court Services Ethical Guidelines - These guidelines were
recently revised in March of 2007.
Finally, even though they refer to judges rather then general
court employees, because South Dakota statutes or rules on judicial ethics are
sometimes difficult to find through regular online searches we have included
the South Dakota
Code of Judicial Conduct and the
Appendix to SDCL Chapter 16-1A.
The appendix to Chapter 16-1A which includes the Rules of Procedure of the
Judicial Qualifications Commission, Rule IV on Judicial Elections, including
the Special Committee on Judicial Elections; and Rule VI, on the Judicial
Ethics Committee created in 2006. These references are current as of
Texas. El Paso County.
of Ethics, Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD). This
one isn't really a code of conduct for court employees specifically -- CJAD is
a division of the Texas Department of Law, and the code focuses on probation
officers who provide services to the court. You'll see, however, that a
lot of the language in the code would apply to court employees in general, and
still fits pretty well in this catalog of court-related codes.
Employee Ethics - This is a link to a list of ethical scenarios that
deal with issues such as receiving gifts, giving legal advice, favoritism, and
many others that are used for employee ethics education and training.
Personal Conduct - This code of personal conduct was taken from Utah's
Human Resource Policy.
Rules; Code of Judicial Conduct. It appears that Washington
has generally adopted the ABA's model Code of Judicial Conduct in its rules;
this judicial ethics code is listed here because like a lot of states it
contains the ABA's model language that applies judicial ethics codes to
court staff, "Judges should be patient, dignified, and
courteous...and should require similar conduct of lawyers, and of the staff,
court officials, and others subject to their direction and
control." Thanks to Frank Maiocco, Court Administrator in
Kitsap County, for this reference. The version linked here now was
last revised or adopted January 1, 2011.