National American Indian Court Judges Association
Judicial Conduct and Code of Ethics
The Tribal Court Judge is the number one representative of the court. The court’s integrity and fairness defines a communities’ faith and health in utilizing a tribal court.
Tribal court judges should not practice law in their own courts, or, in any court subject to the appellate process in which he or she serves.
A judge should encourage a separation between the judicial branch and other branches of tribal government.
A judge should not participate in legislative or executive decision making except where it is permitted by the tribe.
Special care needs to be taken when a judge sits on a tribal council. The appearance or possibility of conflict of interest needs to be avoided.
A judge should not participate in cases involving immediate family members, in cases involving someone with whom the judge has a strong personal relationship, or in cases where the judge has a significant, direct, financial, political, or other personal interest.
A judge should discuss cases and court business only in the presence of all parties.
A judge has a responsibility to uphold confidentiality and should never discuss a case with outside parties or use confidential information acquired in the course of their official duties to further their personal interests.
A judge should be aware that their conduct has a direct bearing on public attitude toward their court and as such, should conduct themselves appropriately.