Recognized as overruled by Opinion 88-04

February 14, 1990

Opinion 90-2
Canon 2
Voluntary appearance in foreign court

In your inquiry you have asked whether you may appear voluntarily at the behest of an English Judge to testify in connection with Florida law at a civil trial to be conducted in London, England. You have also asked whether you may accept reasonable compensation for your appearance and reimbursement for the actual cost of travel, food and lodging for you and your wife. It is evident from your inquiry that you would not testify to any factual matter. Questions associated with Florida law to be considered and resolved by the English judge would normally be capable of determination without testimony.

A majority of the Committee has expressed the view that your status as a judge follows you and that you are just as barred from appearing in an English court as would be the case if you were called upon voluntarily to testify in an American court.

One member of the committee draws a distinction between testifying in an English court and appearing in a court in this country. That member would not disapprove your testimonial participation in the proceeding.

One member of the committee was disquieted by the fact that you would receive a fee and expenses for you and your wife in connection with the voluntary appearance.

The committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges 327 So2d 5 (Fla. 1976).

Cordially yours,

Richard H. Frank, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

cc: All Committee Members

Participating Members: Judges Green, Tolton, Booth, Dell, Doughtie,Frank, Simons, Shutter, Goldstein and Clarke, Esquire.

All reference to the inquiring judge is deleted from the copies sent to the following individuals.

Mr. Sid White, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida
Judson Orrick, Managing Editor, The Florida Bar Journal
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory Panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Deborah Solomon, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Mr. Brian Polley, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida
Mr. Richard Kuhn, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Ms. Georgeanne Marsh, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association