In Kazakhstan, the Code of Judicial Ethics (CJE) has a unique role within the judiciary and consists of a set of ethical principles and guidelines for judges on the issues of judicial integrity, independence, and impartiality. The Government of Kazakhstan is actively discussing judicial reforms. For example, on January 26, 2023, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with the Chairman of the Supreme Court Aslambek Mergaliyev to discuss a mechanism for holding judges accountable for gross violations of the legislation.
Although an important aspect of judicial reform, the current CJE has been critiqued for containing vague and unstructured provisions that do not effectively prevent ethical violations, as well as not provide a clear distinction between disciplinary and ethical violations and responsible parties for issuing disciplinary sanctions. To address these shortcomings, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)’s Kazakhstan Rule of Law program (KROL) has been working to improve the CJE. On January 27, 2023, in cooperation with the Union of judges, KROL organized an extended meeting on the drafted CJE. The meeting was attended by Justices of the Supreme Court, the Union of Judges, the Chairman of the Judicial Jury, regional judges, the Chairman of the National Bar Association, advocates, and representatives from the United States Agency for International Development and ABA ROLI.
In this blog Judge Elizabeth Stong, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York, shared her experience on principles of judicial ethics and the Federal Judicial Code of Conduct in the United States, which is a set of ethical principles and guidelines adopted by the governing body of the federal judiciary. The Code of Conduct is comprised of five Canons, each of which highlights a distinct principle of judicial ethics. Judge Stong discussed each Canon.