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Impartiality of judges in the era of social networks

31.01.2017

Impartiality of judges in the era of social networks

In its judgment held on 5th January, the French Court of cassation (Cour de cassation) ruled that the principle of impartiality of judges did not preclude them from being ‘friends’ on social networks

X, a French  lawyer facing disciplinary proceedings, called into question the impartiality of the six-members of the Disciplinary Board claiming that they were ‘friends’ on Facebook.

The Court of Appeal of Paris dismissed the claim and X referred the matter before the Court of cassation.

The last one found that the term of ‘friend’, generally used to describe people who accept a friendship request on social networks, could not be understood in its traditional sense, such as developing relations of friendship. Therefore, accordingly to the Court of cassation, social networks were a specific mean of communication between people with same interests and, as in the present case, same professional occupation.

For those reasons, the Court of cassation ruled that the existence of contacts between those judges, made through social networks, was not enough to characterise any violation of the obligation of impartiality.

Source :Cour de cassation, civile, Chambre civile 2, 5 janvier 2017, 16-12.394, Publié au bulletin


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