New Jersey Courts Overview
explains the judiciary branch of the state of New Jersey.
I believe that a judge treated me unfairly. Who can I complain to?
In instances in which someone believes that a judge acted improperly, a complaint may be made to the Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct. The committee, composed of private citizens who are appointed by the Supreme Court, reviews allegations of judicial misconduct. The committee deals with questions of conduct only and not with the correctness of judicial decisions, which are matters for appeal. Depending on the Advisory Committee's findings and upon its own review of a complaint, the Supreme Court may sanction a judge. Sanctions range from reprimand, censure, and suspension without pay, to removal from judicial office.
The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct may be reached at (609) 292-2552. Correspondence, including complaints, should be addressed to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, CN-037, Trenton, NJ 08625.
Clients who believe their attorneys committed professional misconduct may file a grievance with the Supreme Court's Office of Attorney Ethics
in Trenton, or with one of the 17 county-based District Ethics Committees. District Ethics Committees are composed of both lawyers and non-lawyers.
If the Office of Attorney Ethics or a District Ethics Committee finds enough evidence to believe that an attorney may have acted improperly, a complaint is filed. From that point forward, the process is open to public review.
A hearing into the complaint is conducted by a panel of the District Ethics Committee or, in certain cases, by a Special Master. If the hearing panel or the Special Master finds that unethical conduct has been committed, the case is forwarded to the Supreme Court's Disciplinary Review Board. If the Disciplinary Review Board agrees that misconduct has occurred, it may issue an admonition.
In more serious cases, the Board may determine that the attorney should be reprimanded or suspended. In the most serious cases, the Board will recommend that the Supreme Court disbar the attorney. The Supreme Court will hold a hearing in all cases in which an attorney faces disbarment.
Litigants who believe their lawyers have charged unreasonably high fees and who have not been able to resolve the fee dispute privately may request that the dispute be arbitrated before a county-based Fee Arbitration Committee. Members of Fee Arbitration Committees are appointed by the Supreme Court and consist of attorneys and non-attorneys. Fee arbitration hearings are conducted in private, and both the client and the attorney whose fee is being challenged have a right to be present with their attorneys, if any.
The Office of Attorney Ethics may be reached at 1(800) 406-8594.