The Supreme Judicial Court has adopted a new Code of Judicial Conduct, effective on January 1, 2016. Please use the links listed below to access the 2016 Code and other useful information.
Please note that the 2016 Code invalidates certain opinions of the Committee on Judicial Ethics that interpreted the Code of Judicial Conduct in effect through December 31, 2015. In many instances where the new Code endorses the analysis of past CJE opinions, that analysis is included in the new Code or in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. If you have questions about the validity of a pre-2016 CJE opinion as applied to your proposed or contemplated conduct, please contact the Committee on Judicial Ethics for advice.
The members of the Committee on Judicial Ethics are:
- Hon. Cynthia J. Cohen, Appeals Court, Chair
- Hon. Linda Fidnick, Probate & Family Court
- Hon. Angel Kelley-Brown, Superior Court
- Professor Renée M. Landers, Suffolk University Law School
- Hon. Janet J. McGuiggan, District Court.
A judge seeking advice from the Committee on Judicial Ethics should contact Supreme Judicial Court Senior Attorney Barbara F. Berenson, counsel to the Committee, at Barbara.Berenson@sjc.state.ma.us or 617-557-1048.
A request for an Informal Opinion may be made via email or phone. A request for a Letter Opinion (formerly known as an Advisory Opinion) must be in writing (email preferred, but a judge may alternatively send a letter to Attorney Barbara Berenson, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108). A judge or any other person or organization seeking an Ethics Advisory from the Supreme Judicial Court should also contact Barbara Berenson.
- Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct, effective January 1, 2016 (SJC Rule 3:09)
- Rules of the Committee on Judicial Ethics (SJC Rule 3:11)
- Letter Opinions of the Committee on Judicial Ethics
- Supreme Judicial Court Ethics Advisories (none at the present time)
- Summary of Key New and Revised Provisions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Training Materials, including Powerpoint , Hypotheticals with Answers, and Explanation of Family Relations in the Code
- The Report of the Committee to Study the Code of Judicial Conduct
- Correlation Table Comparing the 2016 Code to the 2003 Code
- Correlation Table Comparing the 2003 Code to the 2016 Code
- Redline Comparison of the 2016 Code to the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct
- Archived Materials -- including Advisory Opinions of the Committee on Judicial Ethics from 1989 through 2014 and the Code of Judicial Conduct in effect from October 1, 2003 – December 31, 2015. The archives also include the Code in effect through September 30, 2003. A judge should not rely on any pre- 2016 CJE Advisory Opinion without contacting Barbara Berenson at Barbara.Berenson@sjc.state.ma.us or 617- 557-1048.