Friedel and Urban 23
of professional legal ethics3 in the last three years (namely, law faculties of the Charles University in
Prague, the Masaryk University in Brno and the Palacký University in Olomouc).4 Second, when the
disciplinary responsibility of judges is discussed, the debate is too much shaped by journalists and their
view of the issue, which concentrates mostly on publicly sensational failures of individual judges
(half-naked female judge participating in a beauty contest,5 a shoplifting judge,6 etc.). Naturally, this kind
of a debate brings us nowhere closer to understanding under what circumstances and whether at all
Czech judges follow norms of their professional ethics. The aim of the article is to cast more light into
the matter of professional judicial conduct in the Czech Republic based on the analysis of Czech
disciplinary authority decisions. We believe that it may serve as a useful example, either good or bad, for
It is worth pointing out that the debate about professional liability of judges, sooner or later, turns into
a debate on judicial accountability7 or judicial independence.8 As we have already stated earlier, the
intention of this article is not to deal with the topic of professional judicial ethics in a theoretical way, but
rather to provide the reader a concrete insight into the area of judicial discipline in the Czech Republic
based on case analysis. Our conclusions may support theoretical approaches to the topic, or they may
serve as an impulse to reformulate them according to our findings.9 However, the aim of the article is to
summarize and analyze available empirical data, not to reformulate theoretical approaches to judicial
discipline. In this respect, we are limited not only by the format of the article but, more importantly, by
serious terminological difficulties that appear in any debate on judicial accountability and which have
been closely analyzed by David Kosař.10 The author identifies in the debates on judicial accountability
a conceptual confusion stemming from the fact that there is no consensus among experts on the content
of the term and especially its scope.11 Under these circumstances, we therefore concentrate almost
3 For the question of whether legal ethics should be turned into a compulsory subject, see Kim Economides & Christine Parker,
Roundtable on Legal Ethics in Legal Education: Should It Be a Required Course?, 14
109 (2011). As regards the
way it should be taught and reasons for teaching it, see, e.g., Kathleen Clark, The Legacy of Watergate for Legal Ethics Instruction,
(Social Science Research Network, Rochester, NY, 2000), available at http://papers.ssrn.com/
abstract=2056374 (last visited October 5, 2015); Russell G. Pearce, Legal Ethics Must Be the Heart of the Law School Curriculum,
JouRNaL of the LegaL PRofessioN
26 (2001–02); or Ken McPhail, The Other Objective of Ethics Education: Re-humanising
the Accounting Profession—A Study of Ethics Education in Law, Engineering, Medicine and Accountancy, 34
(Issues 3–4) 279 (2011). As regards the possibility of teaching legal ethics though legal clinics, see, e.g., Anna
Cody, What does Legal Ethics Teaching Gain, if Anything, from Including a Clinical Component? 22
of cLiNicaL LegaL educatioN
4 At the last of four public law schools in the Czech Republic, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, the professional legal ethics
had been taught already before.
5 See, e.g., Tomáš Němeček, Kárnářízení od Miss monokini k alkoholu v síni [Disciplinary Proceedings from Miss Monokini to
Alcohol in the Court Room],
, 24 May 2007, available at http://archiv.ihned.cz/c1-20252110-karna-rizeni-od-miss-
monokini-k-alkoholu-v-sini (last visited October 5, 2015).
6 See, e.g., Karel Steigerwald, Dámy a pánové, krást je hanba [Ladies and Gentlemen, Theft is Scandalous],
, 28 May
2004, available at http://zpravy.idnes.cz/damy-a-panove-krast-je-hanba-df1-/domaci.aspx?c=A040127_202552_nazory_fri (last
visited October 5, 2015).
7 See, e.g., Michael Kirby, Judicial Accountability in Australia, 6
41 (2003). Kirby includes among various ways
of disciplining the judges not only the questions of appointment and promotion, judicial performance, judicial reasons, appeal and
review, but also the question of discipline by a removal.
8 David Kosař, The Least Accountable Branch, 11
iNteRNatioNaL JouRNaL of coNstitutioNaL Law
(Issue 1) 234, 255–57 (2013).
The author illustrates on concrete examples that the mechanism of judicial accountability may be perceived both as threat to
judicial independence and means of safeguarding judicial independence.
9 The same conclusion is drawn by Kosař. Id. at 258.
10 Id. at 234–60.
11 Id. at 238–40. In other words, it is not clear what the term judicial accountability means. The author does not leave the topic with
this declaration and proposes that the future authors writing about judicial accountability should: ‘A) make clear whether she