March 17, 2020 Top Story

Ethical Obligations Requiring Judicial Recusal

Committee finds judges are best suited to determine recusal

By Josephine M. Bahn

The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued an opinion addressing when judges are required to recuse themselves from a case because of familial or personal relationships with one of the parties. In doing so, the committee analyzed the ABA’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.11.

The degree of acquaintanceship matters

The degree of acquaintanceship matters

iStockphoto by Getty Images

The committee determined that judges are best suited to determine whether recusal is necessary and divided the analysis into three categories: acquaintanceships, friendships, and close personal relationships. Each decision is fact-based and relies on the individual to determine if a material relationship exists to warrant either disclosure or recusal. ABA Section of Litigation leaders say the rule interpretation serves as a reminder to judges to maintain compliance with professional conduct rules.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now