As the launch of UNODC's Global Judicial Integrity Network nears, the Doha Declaration's Judicial Integrity component introduces opinions from judges around the world, to be shared on the upcoming dedicated website, which will feature a wealth of legal resources and a platform to exchange legal perspectives and cases. Judge Mindaugas Simonis from Lithuania joins Judge José Igreja Matos, Vice President of the International Association of Judges in anticipating the Global Judicial Integrity Network's contributions to promoting and facilitating global judicial integrity.
Judicial ethics are a prerequisite for the highest standards in the execution of justice
The activity of courts and judges requires the highest professional standards. In the constant endeavor to strike the right balance of competing interests, it is necessary for the modern judge to be wise, sensitive, and knowledgeable not only in legal matters but also in the spheres of economy, social security, sociology, psychology, etc.. In addition to having the highest professional standards, judges must continuously follow scientific, social and economic developments. In times of globalization, judicial decision-making has become increasingly multifunctional and interdisciplinary. The best example of this complexity is the jurisprudence of Constitutional Courts of different states, which develop not only long-lasting norms of constitutionality, but sometimes even establish core principles of social life. In ordinary courts, big cases of professional liability and torts, cases on scientific disagreements and scientific dishonesty and the protection of inventions reaffirm the importance of continuous judicial training and the need for a strong scientific methodology for judicial inquiries.
Consistency in judicial decision-making, access to well-developed databases and collections of good practices, systematic external assistance and the safeguarding of appropriate work conditions for judges are prerequisites to overcome new challenges and to be able to effectively respond to the evolving needs and expectations of society.
As a judge and as one of the administrators of a court, I consider it necessary to examine court administration and judicial ethics in conjunction, in order to guarantee the professionalism and independence of courts and judges. Judicial ethics, as a system of professional values, are based on the principle of self-regulation, "by judges of judges". An effective court administration requires a scientific approach to its elements, including the methods of enforcement of judicial ethics.
I trust that the Global Judicial Integrity Network will, amongst other things, be a valuable instrument for judges to collect scientific data for their research, and will be a platform for colleagues worldwide to share judicial information and developments with one another. With this in mind, I would like to share my article 'The role of judicial ethics in court administration: from setting the objectives to practical implementation'. It is published electronically in the Baltic Journal of Law & Politics (A Journal of Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania).