For immediate release: November 1, 2006
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Court's High Standards Are Met by Judiciary Volunteers' Code of Conduct
Judge Philip S. Carchman, acting administrative director of the courts, today announced the New Jersey Supreme Court's approval of new policies for Judiciary volunteers.
Volunteers play a crucial role in the services the Judiciary provides to the people of New Jersey. Guidelines were created for volunteers to ensure that the Judiciary remains impartial in all matters.
Judiciary volunteers meet high standards as outlined by the Code of Conduct. Volunteers must treat people equally and with respect regardless of socio-economic status. Judiciary volunteers have access to information that is not a matter of public record and as a result they must sign an "Oath of Office and of Confidentiality." Judiciary volunteers can hold public office, elected or appointed, as long as their duties do not conflict with the nature of their volunteer duties. They may not use their volunteer status with the Judiciary to further personal political ambitions. The Judiciary must not take 'sides' on issues that involve partisan political activities; therefore, Judiciary volunteers must not take any position that would suggest that they favor one political party over another.
In addition to the new Code of Conduct rules, volunteers must file reports about their own or immediate family members' involvement in litigation. Reporting litigation to which the volunteer is personally connected keeps the court system neutral and ensures that there is no bias shown to either party. Volunteers must not use resources of the Judiciary for personal purposes. Above all, volunteers must act in a way that preserves the integrity and independence of the courts.
Currently, more than 5,200 volunteers serve the court system. Among the many opportunities available, Judiciary volunteers may advise the courts on various cases including children in placements and guardianship cases involving incapacitated adults. Volunteers also mediate disputes in municipal courts and oversee court-ordered visitation between children and their non-custodial parents.
The Code of Conduct and Reporting Litigation for Judiciary Volunteers is available online atnjcourtsonline.com