Illinois Supreme Court Adopts New Code of Judicial Conduct
The Illinois Supreme Court announced today the adoption of a new Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct which will become effective January 1, 2023.
The Code of Judicial Conduct contains the ethics rules governing the behavior of all state court judges in Illinois, as well as candidates for judicial office. The new Code is based on the current American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct (rev. 2010). Thirty-seven states base their Codes of Judicial Conduct on the current ABA Model Code.
“The Illinois Supreme Court is committed to promoting the highest ethical behavior by judges in our state,” Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said. “The Court’s promulgation of a new, modern Code of Judicial Conduct will further that objective by providing judges with clear guidance regarding their ethical responsibilities both on and off the bench. The product of years of careful study, the new Code will serve the citizens of our state well for many years to come.”
Adoption of the new Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct has been implemented by the Supreme Court’s issuance of an order which repeals the old Code (Supreme Court Rules 61 through 68) and adopts the new Code. The order also replaces the old Declaration of Economic Interests that judges file each year with a new Declaration designed to provide the public with increased assurance that judges will avoid participating in cases in which they or their close family members have a significant financial interest.
The new Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct was developed, and ultimately submitted to the Supreme Court for approval, by the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee (IJEC), a joint committee of the Illinois Judges Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and Chicago Bar Association. The Chair of the IJEC is Steven F. Pflaum of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, and the Vice Chair is the Hon. Raymond P. McKoski (ret.) of the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law.
The Supreme Court adopted the new Code after its Rules Committee conducted a public hearing regarding the proposed Code in February 2022. According to IJEC Chair Pflaum, “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.”