THE UNIVERSAL CHARTER OF THE JUDGE
Judges from around the world have worked on the drafting of this Charter.
The present Charter is the result of their work and has been approved by the member associations of the International Association of Judges as general minimal norms.
The text of the Charter has been unanimously approved by the delegates attending the meeting of the Central Council of the International Association of Judges in Taipei (Taiwan) on November 17, 1999.
Art.1: IndependenceJudges shall in all their work ensure the rights of everyone to a fair trial. They shall promote the right of individuals to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law, in the determination of their civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against them.The independence of the judge is indispensable to impartial justice under the law. It is indivisible. All institutions and authorities, whether national or international, must respect, protect and defend that independence.
Art.2: StatusJudicial independence must be ensured by law creating and protecting judicial office that is genuinely and effectively independent from other state powers. The judge, as holder of judicial office, must be able to exercise judicial powers free from social, economic and political pressure, and independently from other judges and the administration of the judiciary.
Art.3: Submission to the lawIn the performance of the judicial duties the judge is subject only to the law and must consider only the law.
Art.4: Personal autonomy No one must give or attempt to give the judge orders or instructions of any kind, that may influence the judicial decisions of the judge, except, where applicable, the opinion in a particular case given on appeal by the higher courts.
Art.5: Impartiality and restraint In the performance of the judicial duties the judge must be impartial and must so be seen.The judge must perform his or her duties with restraint and attention to the dignity of the court and of all persons involved.
Art.6: Efficiency The judge must diligently and efficiently perform his or her duties without any undue delays.
Art.7: Outside activity The judge must not carry out any other function, whether public or private, paid or unpaid, that is not fully compatible with the duties and status of a judge. The judge must not be subject to outside appointments without his or her consent.
Art.8: Security of office A judge cannot be transferred, suspended or removed from office unless it is provided for by law and then only by decision in the proper disciplinary procedure.
A judge must be appointed for life or for such other period and conditions, that the judicial independence is not endangered. Any change to the judicial obligatory retirement age must not have retroactive effect.
Art.9: Appointment The selection and each appointment of a judge must be carried out according to objective and transparent criteria based on proper professional qualification. Where this is not ensured in other ways, that are rooted in established and proven tradition, selection should be carried out by an independent body, that include substantial judicial representation.
Art.10: Civil and penal responsibility Civil action, in countries where this is permissible, and criminal action, including arrest, against a judge must only be allowed under circumstances ensuring that his or her independence cannot be influenced.
Art.11: Administration and disciplinary action The administration of the judiciary and disciplinary action towards judges must be organized in such a way, that it does not compromise the judges genuine independence, and that attention is only paid to considerations both objective and relevant. Where this is not ensured in other ways that are rooted in established and proven tradition, judicial administration and disciplinary action should be carried out by independent bodies, that include substantial judicial representation. Disciplinary action against a judge can only be taken when provided for by pre-existing law and in compliance with predetermined rules of procedure.
Art.12: Associations The right of a judge to belong to a professional association must be recognized in order to permit the judges to be consulted, especially concerning the application of their statutes, ethical and otherwise, and the means of justice, and in order to permit them to defend their legitimate interests.
Art.13: Remuneration and retirement The judge must receive sufficient remuneration to secure true economic independence. The remuneration must not depend on the results of the judges work and must not be reduced during his or her judicial service.The judge has a right to retirement with an annuity or pension in accordance with his or her professional category. After retirement a judge must not be prevented from exercising another legal profession solely because he or she has been a judge.
Art.14: Support The other powers of the State must provide the judiciary with the means necessary to equip itself properly to perform its function. The judiciary must have the opportunity to take part in or to be heard on decisions taken in respect to this matter.
Art.15: Public prosecution In countries where members of the public prosecution are judges, the above principles apply mutatis mutandis to these judges.
November 1999 List of the delegations attending the meeting of the Central Council of the International Association of Judges in Taipei (Taiwan) on November 17, 1999ARGENTINA AUSTRIA BELGIUM BOLIVIA BRAZIL CAMEROON CANADA COSTA RICA CZECH REPUBLIC DENMARK ESTONIA F.Y.R.O.M. FINLAND FRANCE GERMANY GREECE ICELAND ISRAEL ITALY IVORY COAST LATVIA LIECHTENSTEIN LITHUANIA LUXEMBOURG MOROCCO NORWAY PARAGUAY POLAND (observer) PORTUGAL REPUBLIC OF CHINA (Taiwan) ROUMANIA SENEGAL SLOVAKIA SLOVENIA SPAIN SWEDEN SWITZERLAND THE NETHERLANDS TUNISIA UNITED KINGDOM UNITED STATES OF AMERICA URUGUAY.