The purpose of the legal code of ethics is to oversee the activity of judges both on the bench and in society in general. This specific field of legal normativity has developed considerably over the past 20 years. These developments in both domestic and international law have led to the adoption of many legal statements and other founding texts. As a result, many statutes, codes and policy statements have appeared, which all are designed to better identify the specific duties involved in the legal function. In most states of law (Rechtsstaat), a given jurisdiction is mandated to implement these principles, their interpretation and their approval. The procedures related to this exercise vary from one state to the next. In all cases, however, ethical activity fosters the definition of the conditions that the judge must observe in carrying out this judicial activity. These activities include the obligation to be independent, impartial and have integrity, which are an integral part of judging. However, depending on the jurisdictions concerned, many other duties have also been defined or identified as being essential to the exercise of this legal function: the duty of serenity, competence, courtesy, etc.
The site that we are proposing today to the international legal community, the scientific community and the general public provides an initial inventory of the legal statements, codes, statutes, legal decisions and doctrine texts that currently serve as a reference in the field of contemporary ethics. This first initiative will be continuously developed and updated over the next few years insomuch as (to the extent where) the field of ethics itself will be significantly developed. This site, in both French and English, is the result of work done at the Centre de recherché en droit public at the Université de Montréal. In particular, this initiative was made possible through the partnership between the Conseil de la magistrature du Québec and the Institut de hautes etudes sur la justice.