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Washington State Ethics Opinions: Judges

Updated June 11, 2012.
Prepared by Cheryl Nyberg. Updated by Lori Fossum (2009).

This guide covers ethics rules and opinions governing the conduct of attorneys. The organization of the attorney discipline system is outlined on the Washington State Bar Association website.

Note: LexisNexis and Westlaw are available only to subscribers with individual passwords and IDs.

Code of Judicial Conduct & Discipline Rules for Judges

Washington State judges are bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct (CJC), which establish four canons for judicial behavior. The Code was revised in 2011. The Discipline Rules for Judges (DRJ) lay out the procedure for disciplining judges who violate the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The rules (and citations to court opinions citing to or applying the Code and/or Discipline Rules) are found in print as well as on the Internet.

Washington Court Rules: State, annual. Text of the rules only.
KFW529.A198 at Reference Area & Reference Office

Washington Court Rules Annotated 2d, annual. Includes text of rules and annotations.
KFW529.A196 at Reference Area

Washington Rules of Court Annotated, annual. Includes text of rules and annotations.
KFW529.A197 at Reference Area


Washington Ethics Advisory Committee

This Committee was established by General Rule 10 and consists of seven members appointed by the Chief Justice. The Committee answers questions from judges regarding application of the Code of Judicial Conduct and issues relevant opinions.

Judicial Ethics Opinions, 1984-date.
A searchable database.

Washington State Judges' Ethics Advisory Opinions, 1988-2005.
KFW525.5.D5W37 at Reference Area


Commission on Judicial Conduct

The Commission (formerly the Judicial Qualifications Committee) was established by the Washington Constitution, Article VI, section 31, and Revised Code of Washington 2.64. It is authorized to impose admonishments, reprimands, and censure or to recommend suspension or removal of a judge to the Supreme Court.


Procedural rules are found in the Washington Administrative Code:

Rules of Procedure (CJCRP)


Judicial Discipline Database, Dec. 1980-date.
Includes disciplinary actions, formal complaints, and Supreme Court opinions.

Public Actions, 1982-date.
Includes decisions and statements of charges

LexisNexis: WASH;WAJETH, 1995-date.

Westlaw: WAETH-DISP, Oct. 1982-date.


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