Canon 1.3: Fairness

A court professional shall conduct his or her work without bias or prejudice including, but not limited to, bias or prejudice based upon race, gender, skin color, religion, age, sexual orientation, national origin, language, marital status, socioeconomic status, or physical or mental challenge.

Comment

While many codes simply reiterate the established legal prohibitions against legally protected groups, this canon calls us to focus our decisions (e.g., hiring or contracting decisions) solely on merit, avoiding extraneous influences. 2 It calls for completely unbiased work. This is more expansive than canon 1.1 calling us to perform our work courteously and canon 1.2 urging us to avoid improper influences.

Other Codes

Section V (E) of the American Judicature Society’s 1989 Model Code of Conduct for Non–Judicial Court Employeesstates, “No court employee shall discriminate on the basis of nor manifest, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or political affiliation in the conduct of service to the court.”

Article IV (B) of the 1990 National Association for Court Management Code of Conduct Advises that, “Members shall not discriminate on the basis of, nor manifest by words or conduct, a bias or prejudice based upon race, color, religion, national origin, gender, or other groups protected by law, in the conduct of service to the court and public.”

Tenet Five of the California Administrative Office of the Courts Ethics Code Guidelines requires staff to, “Guard against and, when necessary, repudiate any act of discrimination or bias based on race, gender, age, religion, national origin, language, appearance, or sexual orientation;”

Canon 1 (E) of the New Jersey Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees says, “No court employee shall in the conduct of official duties discriminate on the basis of, or manifest by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, language, marital status, socioeconomic status, or handicap.”

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