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Judges are free to share their insights on the legal process

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Florida courtsJudges may participate in local bar association panel discussions that address how judges confer with colleagues or consider amicus filings in cases, according to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.

The ethics panel acted May 21 in Opinion Number: 2024-07.

“[J]udges are free — and, indeed, encouraged — to discuss the legal process and how they perform their judicial duties to better foster public confidence,” the opinion says, noting Canon 4 permits judges to express themselves on “the law, the legal system, the administration of justice, and the role of the judiciary as an independent branch within our system of government,”

The panel cautioned the inquiring judge to keep the discussion generalized and not to disclose any nonpublic information or confidential court communications or indicate how a judicial officer might rule on a particular kind of case or controversy.

The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee is charged with rendering advisory opinions to judges and judicial candidates on the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to their circumstances. While judges and candidates may cite the opinion as evidence of good faith, the opinions are not binding on the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

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