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Code of Judicial Conduct for Administrative Law Judges

SECTION 3 - Definitions

  1. “Appropriate authority” means the authority with responsibility for initiating disciplinary proceedings with respect to the violation to be reported.
  2. De minimis” means an insignificant interest that could not raise a reasonable question as to a judge’s impartiality.
  3. “Code” means the code of judicial conduct of the office of administrative hearings, state of North Dakota.
  4. “Economic interest” means ownership of  more than de minimis legal or equitable interest, or a relationship as officer, director, advisor, or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that:
    1. ownership of an interest in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not an economic interest in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund or a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the interest;
    2. service by a judge as an officer, director, advisor, or other active participant in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization, or service by a judge’s spouse, parent, or child as an officer, director, advisor, or other active participant in any such organization does not create an economic interest in securities held by that organization;
    3. a deposit in a financial institution, the proprietary interest of a policy holder in a mutual insurance company, of a depositor in a mutual savings association or of a member in a credit union, or a similar proprietary interest, is not an economic interest in the organization unless a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the interest;
    4. ownership of government securities is not an economic interest in the issuer unless a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the securities.
  5. “Fiduciary” means such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, and guardian.
  6. “Judge” means administrative law judge.  Although the terms “judge” and “administrative law judge” are not otherwise necessarily synonymous, for purposes of this code they are synonymous.  Similarly, the term “judicial”  or “judiciary” means, for the purpose of this code, belonging to or referring to the office of an administrative law judge.
  7. “Knowingly,” “knowledge,” “known,” or “knows” means actual knowledge of the fact in question.  A person’s knowledge may be inferred from facts and circumstances.
  8. “Law” means constitutional provisions, statutes, rules, and decisional law.
  9. “May” means permissible discretion or, depending upon the context, refers to action which is not covered by specific proscriptions.
  10. “Member of the judge’s family” or “family member” means a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or other relative or person with whom the judge maintains a close familial relationship or who may reasonably appear to others to be a member of the judge’s family.
  11. “Member of the judge’s family residing in the judge’s household” means not only any relative of a judge by blood or marriage, but also any person who is treated by the judge as a member of the judge’s family, who resides in the judge’s home.
  12. “Nonpublic information” means information that, by law, is not available to the public. Nonpublic information may include, but is not limited to, information that is specifically made confidential by statute or rule, or sealed by court or agency order, communicated in camera to the administrative law judge, or otherwise not available under any provision of N.D.C.C. ch. 44-04.
  13. “Require.” Any rule prescribing that an administrative law judge “require” certain conduct of others is a rule of reason. The use of the term “require” in this context means an administrative law judge is to exercise reasonable discretion and control over the conduct of those persons subject to the administrative law judge’s direction and control.
  14. “Shall” or “shall not” means indication of a binding obligation the violation of which can result in disciplinary action.
  15. “Should” or “should not” is intended as hortatory and as a statement of what is or is not appropriate conduct, but does not mean indication of a binding rule under which a judge may be disciplined.
  16. “Third degree of relationship.” The following persons are relatives within the third degree of relationship: great-grandparent, grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, child, grandchild, great-grandchild, nephew, or niece.