On 28th April, 2015, the American Center of the U.S. Embassy in Prague hosted a conference “Compatibility of the Position of a Judge with Other Activities” organized by the Union of Judges of the Czech Republic. The conference was opened by Ambassador Andrew Schapiro together with Minister of Justice Robert Pelikan and President of the Union of Judges Daniela Zemanova.
Ambassador Schapiro and Minister Pelikan stressed in their opening addresses that credibility and moral authority of judges is linked and dependent not only on their professional execution of their judicial power but also on the moral aspect of the conduct of judges in all walks of their lives.
Ambassador Schapiro recalled the long-term cooperation between the United States Embassy in Prague and the Czech judiciary in strengthening the independence of judges and the creation of ethical standards.
“One of the five major canons of the Code of Conduct of Judges in the U.S. reads: ‘A judge may engage in extrajudicial activities that are consistent with the obligations of judicial office.’ And as we know, complete separation of a judge from extrajudicial activities is neither possible nor wise. In fact, it is healthy for a judge to retain bonds with his local community and broader society,” said the Ambassador, adding that at the same time, a judge should not participate in extrajudicial activities that detract from the dignity of the judge’s office, interfere with the performance of the judge’s official duties, negatively influence the judge’s impartiality or violate his integrity.