Ethics Codes USA
Ethics Codes Global
This page is a list of links to on-line materials published by courts, court systems, bar associations,
commissions, institutes, and other professional organizations working in the areas of ethics,
ethics codes, canons, and ethics training.
Most Recent Addition(s):
February 2014, fixed and updated some of the broken links, including a
link to the American Judicature Society.
American Judicature Society is one of the primary organizations
in the United States working in the area of judicial ethics. The
Society offers a number of ethics resources including an online resource
library, ethics publications by subscription, and one of the most highly developed, comprehensive
websites on judicial ethics in the United States.
American Society for Public Administration has adopted an ethics
code for government employees in general. It's not specifically
court-related, but it may be useful to someone drafting a code for any
public agency. As described on their website, a revision project is
underway as of September 2012. If the link doesn't work properly, you can also download the
2006 edition of the ASPA ethics code in Word format at this
The American Bar Association's
Commission to Evaluate the Model Code of Judicial Conduct has assembled
a state-by-state directory of codes and canons for judges and judicial
officers. Click on the "Resources" tab in the left margin of their
webpage to access the state-by-state directory. Although the site is
clearly not focused on general court staff, many judicial conduct codes
refer or apply to court employees in some provisions so their site may still be useful to court managers (for example,
Minnesota's code, Canon 3(B)(2) applies judicial standards of "fidelity
and diligence" to court employees).
Cardozo Law School in New York assembled this list of of links to
ethics codes and ethics opinions for all 50 States -- although the list is
almost exclusively judge and attorney related, not for court
staff. Still, this is a rich, very interesting, and very helpful
resource on court-related ethics.
Center for Judicial Education & Research offers a pretty cool online
ethics training course for court employees based on a program developed by
the California Judicial Administration Institute of California.
Although the web course was initially published as far back as 2003, the
course is still useful and it's one of the few online ethics courses for
court employees that we've found on the 'net. The course presents hypothetical scenarios
for each tenets of their code, and then asks a "What would you do?" question.
Geared to California court employees but the principles are still universal.
the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of
Technology in Chicago doesn't focus on courts or court employees, but
they have collected over 1,000 ethics
codes drawn from over dozens of different professions and general areas of
work. This is the single biggest collection of ethics codes we've
found so far. It also includes a huge bibliography on ethics codes,
resources on how to draft codes, etc. If you're trying to do some work
in comparative ethics codes, this website is the place.
Law School's American Legal Ethics Library does an excellent job
cataloging the canons, codes, opinions, and ethics enforcement structures in
all 50 states in the US 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.
The Ethics Resource
Center is a non-profit organization in Washington, DC
"devoted to organizational ethics." They've assembled a
large collection of ethics-related web links and other materials on their
website, including a page on ethics references specifically for government
employees. It also includes links to the federal (US) ethics codes for
both judges and court staff. Their main web address is www.ethics.org.
for Criminal Justice Ethics is affiliated with John Jay College of the
City University of New York. The center and their website collects
information about criminal justice and related ethics topics, research
links, conferences, and training programs in ethics. The center mostly
focuses on law enforcement and criminal justice (obviously), rather than
court employees or court staff generally.
Institute for Local Self Government, JoAnne Speer,
A Local Agency Ethics Code: A Process Oriented Guide. For
those thinking of drafting or adopting an ethics code, this is a good
resource on developing codes, their purposes, goals, and different
approaches to ethics code development. (I wish I had read this book a
long time ago to clarify my thinking on ethics code development.) The
Institute publishing this resource is funded by the Waste Management, Inc.
Charitable Foundation, but don't let that throw you off.
Josephson Institute for Ethics is a non-profit organization based in
Los Angeles. The Josephson Institute is one of Peter Kiefer's favorite
resources. The site offers a lot of useful materials, references,
event announcements, and this
page listing dozens of other ethics-related
National Center for State Courts, headquartered in
Williamsburg, Virginia offers a very well developed collection of model
codes, samples, training guides, and other materials on ethics, especially
for non-judicial or administrative court employees.
New Ethic is a general ethics website
or collected by Joseph B. Juhasz and Lester Shepard. Originally this
site was developed or hosted at the University of Colorado, but now it
appears to be independent. It's a little philosophical and rambling and --
well, you'll see. However, the site includes a huge list of online ethics
institutes, study centers, advocacy organizations, ethics libraries, and
about 50 ethics codes over a wide array of different professions. (On
our printer the list of links runs 12 single-spaced pages, just to give you
an idea of the size of the collection.)
Mexico Judicial Education Center has constructed an excellent, web-based
tutorial for court employees on ethics and ethics codes. Click on the
"dilemma" links in the upper right corner of each ethics sub-topic
to see the interactive hypothetical scenario questions.
Professor David Hricik at Mercer University School
of Law in Macon, Georgia maintains www.hricik.com,
an interesting web site on ethics and risk management. The site
is mostly focused on ethics for attorneys and the practice of law rather
than on court employees, but parts of the site may be useful to court
managers. Professor Hricik has also posted his occasional ethics
articles and lists a number of ethics-related "State Links" on the
The United States
Office of Government Ethics is specifically and
exclusively an executive branch agency, not court or legislative, but if
you're researching public employee ethics in general, you might find this
site helpful. Many of the Common
Ethics Issues listed on the site arise in the courts and legislative
bodies as well as executive agencies.
of a Code of Ethics For Court Clerks/Romania This link
offers a copy of the report on an ethics training and development project
for court clerks in Romania in 2005, conducted by the American Bar
Association/Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI) and funded
by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). American
court employees will immediately recognize most of the hypothetical
scenarios. This reference is especially good because it includes
detailed descriptions of the scenarios, how the sessions were conducted, and
a long appendix of comparative ethics codes, including from the US.
Compiled 2005, published 2006, 88 pages, pdf. For more reading on the
ABA's program in general, is available at
Romania Programs | Rule of Law Initiative.
Association Rule of Law Initiative - Europe and Eurasia has developed a
detailed assessment tool to measure the progress of judicial reforms in
30 different evaluation areas. We have all these codes, but are they
working, are they making any difference? CEELI's Judicial Reform Index is one way to measure
progress in a clear, systematic way. Their web pages talk about the
initiative in general and the
"Judicial Reform Index" (JRI) in particular, and describes the reform indices or
summaries of how a number of countries are doing using JRI's criteria.
For one example of how the evaluation criteria are structured and applied,
here's a link to the report for Georgia (former Soviet Union, not USA).
CEELI Legal Reform Index Georgia 2007. Jump to page 11 for an
example of the criteria ratings.