Voluntary Standards for Civility

D.C. Bar Voluntary Standards of Civility: Judges’ Duties to Lawyers

Principles Particularly Applicable to Litigation

Judges' Duties to Lawyers

  1. We will be courteous, respectful, and civil to lawyers, parties, and witnesses. We will maintain control of the proceedings, recognizing that judges have both the obligation and the authority to ensure that judicial proceedings are conducted with dignity, decorum, and courtesy.
  2. We will not employ hostile, demeaning, or humiliating words in opinions or in written or oral communications with lawyers, parties, or witnesses.
  3. We will be punctual in convening hearings, meetings, and conferences; if delayed, we will notify counsel as promptly as possible.
  4. In scheduling hearings, meetings, and conferences, we will be considerate of time schedules of lawyers, parties, and witnesses and of other courts and tribunals. We will inform counsel promptly of any rescheduling, postponement, or cancellation of hearings, meetings, or conferences.
  5. While endeavoring to resolve disputes efficiently, we will be considerate of the time constraints and pressures imposed on lawyers by the exigencies of litigation practice. We will make all reasonable efforts promptly to decide matters presented to us for decision.
  6. We recognize that a lawyer has a right and duty to present a cause fully and properly, and that a litigant has a right to a fair and impartial hearing. Within the practical limits of time, we will allow lawyers to present proper arguments, to make a complete and accurate record, and to present a case free from unreasonable or unnecessary judicial interruption.
  7. We will not impugn the integrity or professionalism of any lawyer on the basis of the clients whom or the causes which a lawyer represents.
  8. We will do our best to ensure that court personnel act civilly toward lawyers, parties, and witnesses.
  9. At an appropriate time and in an appropriate manner, we will bring to a lawyer's attention conduct which we observe that is inconsistent with these standards.