Réflexions/Débats

Magistrats et réseaux sociaux - "The ethical challenges of internet use by judges"

Le Réseau européen de formation judiciaire (REFJ) est la plateforme et le promoteur principal du développement, de la formation et de l’échange des savoirs et des compétences de la magistrature de l’Union européenne. Créé en 2000, le REFJ élabore des normes et des programmes de formation, coordonne les échanges et les programmes de formation judiciaire et renforce la coopération entre les organismes de formation nationaux de l’UE. Le REFJ élabore des normes et des programmes de formation, coordonne les échanges et les programmes de formation judiciaire et renforce la coopération entre les organismes de formation nationaux de l’UE. Le concours THEMIS rassemble de futurs magistrats issus de différents pays européens au moment où ils effectuent leur formation initiale afin de leur permettre de partager des valeurs communes, d’échanger de nouvelles expériences et de discuter de questions d’intérêt commun.

A titre d’exemple, nous avions eu le plaisir de participer en 2012 à ce concours avec Julien GOLDSZLAGIER et Hugues JULIE. Nous avions choisi de traiter de la question de la présence des magistrats sur internet : "THE ETHICAL CHALLENGES OF INTERNET USE BY JUDGES"... Pour en savoir plus, il vous suffit de consulter l’article ci-joint, dont l’introduction est reprise ci-dessous.

"In February 2012, Facebook announced that it had 845 million users worldwide. Among Europeans, 27.5% of the population are Facebook users. As underlined by Daniel Smith, “it is apparent now more than ever that Facebook, like the Internet, is here to stay. It is not a fad or niche, but rather something that is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, in all spheres of society, including one of our more revered institutions : the judiciary”. The Internet offers all citizens - including judges - a new outlook for expression (blogs, forums) and communication (personal or professional social networks).

Judges, because they represent the Judiciary, are bound by specific constraints - their ethical rules – such as the obligation of reserve, the obligation of discretion, the duty of impartiality or propriety. These standards aim at preserving the image of the Judiciary by creating a climate of confidence among citizens towards the judicial system. As stated in the preamble of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, “public confidence in the judicial system and in the moral authority and integrity of the judiciary is of the utmost importance in a modern democratic society”.

With the advent of the Internet, questions have arisen with regards judges being present in this media. Can the image of the Judiciary be harmed by awkward use of the Internet by judges ? There are few materials on this subject. The international and European principles of judicial conduct do not specifically tackle this question, nor do national rules. This issue does not seem to be subject of much prospective analysis. Should they exist, they are not publicly disclosed. The question of the presence of judges on the Internet nevertheless occurs when a judge is publicly involved in a specific case that jeopardizes his/her propriety or impartiality. In the United States, several cases have already emerged and therefore have led to specific thoughts about the presence of judges on the Internet with regards to ethical rules, especially at a disciplinary level. Yet it is important to underline that the American situation is a specific one, since judges are elected. Due to this fact, the Internet is frequently used as a communication tool for campaigns and American judges are more inclined to use this media than judges who are not elected.

Despite the lack of materials, it may be noted that, in many countries, judges do not stay totally away from the Internet. On the one hand, means of expression (such as blogs, forums) are used by some judges. Among these tools, Twitter seems to be favoured in particular and several judges have Twitter accounts. This is the case for the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon or for the Swiss judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet. On the other hand, means of communication (personal and professional social networks) are also used by judges. South Korean judge Benedic Seo Gi-Ho and Maltese Magistrate Scerri Herrera have become famous because of their use of such tools.

From an ethical point of view, the presence of judges on the Internet has raised different questions. Some are traditional ones, which are amplified by the Internet phenomenon (for instance, freedom of expression versus obligation of reserve and obligation of discretion or duty of propriety). Other questions are more original, and appear due to the specific nature of the Internet itself. This is the case for the Facebook discussion regarding the duty of impartiality, which raises a further question : should a judge use social networks ? If so, is it acceptable that a judge, who has a public profile, should befriend with a lawyer or will this jeopardize the public confidence ? In the Internet age, what is expected from a judge by the citizens ? If the Internet is considered as a place of vitality for democratic debate, should a judge stay away from it (in other words should he/she remain in his/her “ivory tower”) or contribute to this debate ?

This paper will try to make a contribution to the question “what can a judge do or do not on the Internet with regards ethical principles ?”. In order to reach this goal, the first part of this paper will describe how judges are present on the Internet by making a distinction between the use of the Internet as a means of communication and of expression with regards ethical principles (I). The second part will reflect on the relevance of the presence of judges on the Internet and upholds that the choice of the “ivory tower”, that is to say the desertion of the Internet by judges would not be the right solution to promote. Therefore, after justifying that the presence of judges on the Internet is relevant, some recommendations for this presence will be made (II). "

http://www.ejtn.eu/Documents/Themis...

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3 Messages de forum

  1. Rapport "déontologie judiciaire 2009-2010", Réseau Européen des Conseils de la Justice

    Pour aller plus loin, vous pouvez consulter le rapport du groupe de travail "déontologie judiciaire 2009-2010", disponible en version bilingue (français, anglais) sur le site du Réseau Européen des Conseils de la Justice (RECJ), dont la présentation faite sur le site est reprise ci-dessous.

    Judicial Ethics - Principles, Values and Qualities

    Society’s expectations of judges have caused the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary to reflect on the question of judicial ethics. It is concerned with striking a balance between the independence of justice [which is not a privilege], the transparency of institutions, the freedom of the press and the public’s right to information. It is also important to preserve judicial independence, free from any pressure or manipulation. This is so that the judge can maintain the impartiality and efficiency that the public expects of him.

    Judicial ethics have been addressed in a positive manner, so that the duties of the judge encompass the common, founding values of the judge’s work, preventive principles and personal qualities, in response to the public’s expectations.

    Independence, integrity, impartiality, reserve and discretion, diligence, respect and the ability to listen, equality of treatment, competence and transparency are the common values identified [as essential to the judicial role] (Part I). The judge also demonstrates personal qualities of wisdom, loyalty, a sense of humanity, courage, seriousness and prudence, an ability to work and an ability to listen and to communicate effectively. A judge is aware that his professional behaviour, his private life and his conduct in society have an influence on the image of justice and public confidence (Part II)

    https://www.encj.eu/index.php?optio...

    | 24 novembre 2017, 13:56
  2. Guide pour les magistrats - recommandation formulée pour l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux

    "La participation aux réseaux sociaux informatisés relève d’un choix personnel, mais demande une grande prudence pour éviter la mise en cause de l’indépendance, de l’impartialité et de l’intégrité du magistrat", extrait du Guide pour les magistrats, Belgique, 2012.

    | 3 décembre 2017, 13:27
  3. Notion d’ami sur Facebook - Question de la récusation d’un membre du conseil de l’ordre dans une instance disciplinaire

    "C’est dans l’exercice de son pouvoir souverain d’appréciation de la pertinence des causes de récusation alléguées par un avocat contre ses confrères appelés à statuer dans une procédure disciplinaire suivie à son encontre que la cour d’appel a retenu que le terme d’ami employé pour désigner les personnes qui acceptent d’entrer en contact par les réseaux sociaux ne renvoie pas à des relations d’amitié au sens traditionnel du terme et que l’existence de contacts entre ces différentes personnes par l’intermédiaire de ces réseaux ne suffit pas à caractériser une partialité particulière, le réseau social étant simplement un moyen de communication spécifique entre des personnes qui partagent les mêmes centres d’intérêt, et en l’espèce la même profession"

    Cour de cassation, civile, Chambre civile 2, 5 janvier 2017, 16-12.394, Publié au bulletin

    https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affi...

    | 3 décembre 2017, 14:23

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