On Tuesday, July 1, 2022, the Illinois Supreme Court announced the adoption of a new Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct, which will become effective on January 1, 2023.
The ethics guidelines governing the conduct of all state court judges in Illinois as well as prospective judges are contained in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The new Code is based on the current American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct (rev. 2010). Thirty-seven states use the current ABA Model Code as the foundation for their codes of judicial conduct.
The Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the previous code (Supreme Court Rules 61 through 68) and approve the new code has resulted in the adoption of the new Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct. The order also replaces the outdated Declaration of Economic Interests that judges submit annually with a new Declaration that is intended to increase public confidence that judges will refrain from taking part in cases in which they or their immediate family members have a significant financial interest.
The Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee (IJEC), a joint committee of the Illinois Judges Association, Illinois State Bar Bar Association, and Chicago Bar Association, developed the new Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct and submitted it to the Supreme Court for approval.
IJEC Chair Steven F. Pflaum stated that:
“While the new Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct is based on the ABA Model Code, aspects of the Illinois Code can be expected to serve as a model for adoption in other states. The IJEC has seen firsthand, through requests for ethics advice from judges, that rules that were developed just a decade ago needed updating to clarify and define limits on the ways judges interact with the public on social media. The new Code adopted by the Illinois Supreme Court is especially noteworthy for providing judges with guidance regarding how the ethics rules apply to the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.”
The new Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct can be found here.