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Model Principles of Judicial Conduct




WHEREAS The Council of ASEAN Chief Justices have agreed, at the 6th Meeting of the Council in 2018 at Singapore, to develop an ASEAN vision for the ASEAN Judiciaries in the form of a judicial model or framework such as a code of conduct for the judiciary.

WHEREAS Article 1 of the ASEAN Charter declares that the purposes of ASEAN include to strengthen democracy, enhance good governance and the rule of law, and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, with due regard to the rights and responsibilities of the Member States of ASEAN, and to enhance the well-being and livelihood of the peoples of ASEAN by providing them with equitable access to opportunities for human development, social welfare and justice.

WHEREAS Article 2 of the ASEAN Charter sets out the principles under which the pursuit of the purposes of ASEAN under Article 1 are to be guided by, which include adherence to the rule of law and the principles of democracy and constitutional government; the respect for fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights; and the upholding of the United Nations Charter and international law, including international humanitarian law subscribed to by ASEAN Member States.

WHEREAS a competent, independent and impartial judiciary is essential if the courts are to fulfil their role in upholding constitutionalism and the rule of law.

WHEREAS public confidence in the judicial system and in the moral authority and integrity of the judiciary is of the utmost importance in a modern democratic society.

WHEREAS it is essential that judges, individually and collectively, respect and honour judicial office as a public trust and strike to enhance and maintain confidence in the judicial system.

WHEREAS the primary responsibility for the promotion and maintenance of high standards of judicial conduct lies with the judiciary in each country.

THE FOLLOWING MODEL PRINCIPLES are intended to establish model standards for ethical conduct of judges. They are designed to provide guidance to judges and to afford the judiciary a framework for regulating judicial conduct. They are also intended to assist members of the executive and the legislature, and lawyers and the public in general, to better understand and support judiciary. These model principles presuppose that judges are accountable for their conduct to appropriate institutions established to maintain judicial standards, which are themselves independent and impartial, and are intended to supplement and not derogate from existing rules of law and conduct which bind the judge.

Value 1 :


1.1 A judge shall exercise the judicial function independently on the basis of the judge’s assessment of the facts and in accordance with an understanding of the law, free from any extraneous influence or pressure, threat or interference, direct or indirect from any quarter or for any reason.

1.2 A judge shall be independent in relation to society in general and in relation to the particular parties to a dispute which the judge has to adjudicate.

1.3 A judge shall exhibit and promote a high standard of judicial conduct to maintain and enhance public confidence in the institutional and operational independence of the judiciary.

Value 2 :


2.1 A judge shall display honesty in decision-making.

2.2 A judge’s behaviour and conduct must reaffirm the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.

Value 3 :


3.1 A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes the integrity of the judiciary.

3.2 A judge shall not conduct himself or herself in a manner which is not befitting of a judge or which brings disrepute to his or her office as a judicial officer.

3.3 A judge shall not use or disclose confidential information for any purpose not related to the judge’s judicial role.

3.4 A judge shall not:

3.4.1 allow any relationship to influence his or her judicial conduct or judgment;

3.4.2 use or lend prestige of his or her judicial office to advance any private interests of the judge, a member of the judge’s family or of anyone else; and

3.4.3 convey or permit others to convey the impression to any person that they are in a special position to influence the judge in the performance of judicial duties.

3.5 A judge shall not practise law whilst holding judicial office.

Value 4 :

Fairness and Impartiality

4.1 A judge shall perform his or her judicial duties fairly and without bias or prejudice, in accordance with principles of procedural fairness.

4.2 A judge shall be impartial and refrain from any conduct which, in the mind of a reasonable person, may give the impression or the appearance of bias or favouritism.

4.3 A judge shall not participate in the determination of a case in which any member of the judge’s family represents a litigant or is associated in any manner with the case.

4.4 A judge shall abstain from commenting on any pending proceedings before the court.

4.5 A judge shall ensure that his or her extra judicial activities do not:

4.5.1 cast reasonable doubt on his or her capacity to act impartially as a judicial officer; or

4.5.2 interfere with the proper performance of his or her judicial duties.

Value 5 :

Competence and Efficiency

5.1 A judge shall take reasonable steps to maintain and enhance the judge’s knowledge, skills and personal qualities necessary for the proper performance of judicial duties, taking advantage for this purpose of the training and other facilities which should be made available, under judicial control, to judges.

5.2 A judge shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently and with reasonable promptness.

5.3 A judge shall not engage in conduct incompatible with the competent discharge of his or her judicial duties.

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