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Pennsylvania Bar Association Applauds Supreme Court of Pennsylvania's New Code of Judicial Conduct

HARRISBURG (Jan. 8, 2014) - Pennsylvania Bar Association President Forest N. Myers today applauded the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille for approving a new Code of Judicial Conduct. The new code, which updates a version that was initially adopted by the court in 1973, goes into effect on July 1.

"The new code includes several key provisions that the PBA finds to be extremely important, including guidance on anti-nepotism and service on commercial boards," said Myers. "We're pleased that the court has adopted a code that will enhance the public's confidence in the fairness and impartiality of the judiciary and will assist judges in adhering to the highest ethical standards."

Myers credited a PBA task force, appointed by 2012-13 PBA President Thomas G. Wilkinson Jr., for developing recommendations to the court.

The PBA task force conducted a thorough review of the American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct, which provides guidance to judges on a variety of important ethical matters such as standards for disqualification and recusal from cases to avoid an appearance of impropriety or bias. It considered proposals made by an ad hoc committee chaired by Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus that was charged by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with examining potential changes to Pennsylvania's code of judicial conduct. The PBA Board of Governors and House of Delegates approved the report of the PBA task force in May of last year.

The PBA task force was composed of these PBA members from across the commonwealth who have broad experience in judicial and legal ethics:

Bridget E. Montgomery, co-chair, Harrisburg
Abraham C. Reich, co-chair, Philadelphia
Hon. William I. Arbuckle III, State College
Robert L. Byer, Pittsburgh
Hope A. Comisky, Philadelphia
Chester C. Corse, Pottsville
Hon. Abraham J. Gafni, Philadelphia
Vincent J. Grogan, Pittsburgh
Nancy L. Heilman, Pittsburgh
Christine H. McClure, Erie
Royce L. Morris, Harrisburg
Kenneth G. Vasil, Erie
Hon. John C. Uhler, York

Michael L. Temin of Philadelphia served as reporter for the task force report. PBA Ethics Counsel Victoria White served as the staff liaison to the task force.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 28,000 lawyers who are members of the association.