Complaints against members of the judiciary
Complaints of improper behaviour on the part of judges must be submitted to the Board of the judge’s court. In case of disagreement with the procedures at this Board, a further complaint can be lodged with the Procurator General of the Supreme Court. Court decisions are excluded from this procedure, since they are open to appeal and possibly to appeal in cassation.
Judges must always be impartial. Even the suspicion of not being impartial must be avoided.
If during a lawsuit a judge finds that there are circumstances which could harm his impartiality, he should request to be relieved of the case. But the public prosecutor and the accused or a party in a civil lawsuit can also challenge a judge because of doubts about his impartiality.
A separate panel of the court will then have to decide whether the request or the challenge is reasonable. If it is, the judge will be replaced by a colleague.
Judges must of course try to prevent such situations from occurring. If a judge beforehand senses that there might be a reason for doubting his impartiality, he should excuse himself and not take the case.
During the last decade, the number of judges being challenged has increased. This does not necessarily show that judicial integrity is on the decline. The importance of even the appearance of partiality to be avoided has been emphasized by the European Court of Human Rights. The tendency is probably also due to a decreasing acceptance of traditional authority in general.