NUMBER 346 1938

Question. Is it proper for a judge to preside at a trial:

1. Where his son, nephew, or other near relative is the attorney for a party to the litigation or for a person financially interested in the outcome thereof?

2. Where the judge’s son, nephew, or other near relative is in the employ of such attorney?

Answer. 1. In the opinion of the Committee, the Canons of Judicial Ethics of the American Bar Association condemn the practice referred to, but if there be any doubt as to the interpretation of the Canons, it is the opinion of the Committee that the practice is improper and should be condemned. (See Canons of Judicial Ethics 4, 5, 13, 24, 25, 26, 29, and 34.)


2. In the opinion of the Committee, this part of the question cannot be answered categorically, because the answer depends on the facts in each particular case. All that the Committee is prepared to say is that in any case in which there can be a reasonable doubt as to the propriety of a judge’s presiding at the trial, he should disqualify himself.