Learning Corner: Educational and Reference Materials

As a pilot project, we are developing some educational/reference materials on selected topics. They are not intended to replace or modify any published opinions.

These pages are intended to serve as a starting point for research. They are not necessarily a comprehensive listing of all opinions on the topic. Please contact the Advisory Committee for guidance if your facts are not identical to a published opinion.

We welcome your feedback on this approach and format.


Subject-Matter Topics

These pages collect some opinions on a particular theme.

  1. Conflicts
  2. Disciplinary Obligations 
    • Chart: When Must a Judge Report a Lawyer (April 2024) - This chart lists prior opinions in which the Committee has mandated reporting (i.e., the only appropriate action was to report the lawyer) as well as certain other related materials.
    • Chart: When Must a Judge Report Another Judge (April 2024) This chart lists prior opinions in which the Committee has mandated reporting (i.e., the only appropriate action was to report another judge) as well as certain other related materials.
  3. Judicial Speech 
    • Judicial Speech Primer (Mar 2018) - Intended to provide a starting point for understanding some of the most common limitations on judicial speech. Please note it does not address participation in public advocacy activities, where the outcome may be highly fact-specific.
  4. Extra-Judicial Activities 
  5. Additional themes and topics

Miscellaneous Reference Materials

  • Part 100 Navigation Guide (May 2021) 
  • Ethics Reference Sheets (March 2023) - reference materials covering some common issues and recommendations regarding disqualification, ex parte communications, when to seek help, and more.
  • Winding Down - Opinion Digests (Mar 2023) - a quick reference guide to help new full-time judges find potentially relevant opinions on selected issues related to winding down their law practice.





Some Opinions Mentioning Judiciary Law § 9

For ease of reference, here are some opinions starting in January 2021, which discuss the new Section 9 of the Judiciary Law concerning disclosure of a judge's reasons for recusal:

  • Opinion 21-02 - Digest: "A judge who believes that the statutory obligation to provide a reason for discretionary recusal is unconstitutional may act in accordance with a legal determination made by the judge on the record, but may not conceal the true basis of the judge’s ruling."
  • Opinion 21-45 - Digest: "Whether a judge who has reported an attorney to an attorney grievance committee may publicly disclose the reason for recusal, when confidentiality has not been waived, is a legal question we cannot resolve. (2) The judge may communicate privately with the reported attorney to advise them that a disciplinary complaint has been filed."
  • Opinion 21-86 - Digest: "(1) A judge who reported a government attorney to the grievance committee must disqualify in all cases involving that attorney while the disciplinary matter is pending and for two years thereafter. (2) What the judge must state on the record or in writing pursuant to Judiciary Law § 9, when confidentiality has not been waived, is a legal question we cannot resolve. (3) If the judge believes the attorney’s appearance on a case that had previously been handled by another colleague in the same governmental law office constitutes impermissible judge-shopping, the judge may report this conduct to the grievance committee."
  • Opinion 21-97 - Digest: "We decline to comment on the appropriate scope of disclosure of a recusing judge under Judiciary Law § 9, as this is a legal question beyond our jurisdiction."

In addition, there are brief discussions in other opinions, such as: 

  • Level of Disclosure: Opinion 21-22(A) - see footnote 2 (suggesting that the statutorily required level of disclosure might be lower than the full disclosure required for the 'affirmative consent' of remittal).
  • Personal/Embarrassing Exception: Opinion 21-48 - see footnote 1 (suggesting that a disciplinary proceeding against the judge's spouse might potentially fall within the statutory exception).

Finally, notwithstanding Judiciary Law § 9, the Committee has reaffirmed that, where the reason for disqualification is that the judge reported an attorney, the disqualification is not subject to remittal.  See Opinions 22-64; 20-213 fn 3; see also e.g. Opinions 23-24; 22-164; 22-123; 22-122.

  • Opinion 20-213 footnote 3: "Because remittal requires full disclosure of the basis for disqualification, sufficient for the parties and their counsel to freely and affirmatively consent to waive the conflict, we continue to believe remittal is not appropriate until and unless the attorney waives confidentiality, or the grievance committee issues a public disciplinary decision" (citations and internal quotation marks omitted)