A list of client rights and responsibilities can be found on the State Bar's website at the For the Public tab, along with other helpful links concerning finding a lawyer, when there is a dispute with your attorney (alternatives to filing a grievance), the grievance process, and the opportunity to search prior disciplinary orders by attorney name.
It is the State Bar's duty "to investigate and, when appropriate, prosecute lawyers for violating those rules. The purposes of the State Bar’s disciplinary process are to protect the public from harm that could result from unethical conduct of lawyers, and to protect the integrity of the justice system."
Searching for an attorney through the Find a Lawyer button will also provide notice of any final decision or order of discipline entered concerning the attorney:
For access to opinions on ethical conduct of attorneys in North Carolina, see the links provided under the Practice Resources - North Carolina section of this guide.
Información en Español. Información en español sobre el sistema judicial de Carolina del Norte
The Judicial Standards Commission (the "Commission") was established in 1973 to "consider complaints against judges of the state’s General Court of Justice," chiefly district court judges, superior court judges and appellate court judges and justices. One of its purposes is the "consideration and investigation of citizen complaints that a judge violated the Code of Judicial Conduct."
Not covered by the Commission's authority: administrative law judges, federal judges, magistrates, district attorneys, clerks of court, court employees or personnel, or private attorneys.
Form for filing a complaint can be found on the state court website. Note that a complaint against the judge on a case is the same as appealing that judge's ruling(s) in the case.
The Judicial Standards Commission Fact Sheet provides complete information on the Commission's purpose and function. In the event that the above links no longer work, Judicial Standards Commission information (including the fact sheet) can be found as follows:
On this page are collected links to judicial ethics information, including the Judicial Standards Commission Fact Sheet, the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct (February 12, 2020), Disciplinary Decisions and Orders, and Formal Advisory Opinions
The Federal Court System is mainly composed of U.S. District Courts located in regions within each state, the U.S. Courts of Appeals organized by circuits, each composed of a number of states, and the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States. In addition, there are a number of federal courts having limited or specialized jurisdiction, such as the Court of International Trade and the U.S. Tax Court. An informational map of the U.S. Circuits can be found at the Federal Bar Association's website.
The Judicial Conference of the United States is the national policy-making body for the federal courts, ad0pting rules such as the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges (the "Code") in order to maintain standards of ethical behavior. The Conference also oversees the Circuit Conference, which manages the circuit courts.
Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings (the "Rules"). First adopted on March 11, 2008, these Rules apply to all federal courts in order "to establish standards and procedures for addressing complaints filed by complainants or identified by chief judges" according to the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980, 28 U.S.C. §§ 351-364 (the "Act").
According to the US Courts webpage Judicial Conduct & Disability:
The Rules do NOT address claims "challeng[ing] the correctness of a judge's decision in a case."
Under the Rules and the Act, "anyone can file a complaint alleging a federal judge has committed misconduct or has a disability."
Frequently asked questions (FAQ's) includes answers to who and what can be complained about and how to file a complaint. Also covered are who will consider the complaint and the how to appeal the decision.
Judicial complaints are to be filed with the "clerk’s office of the United States court of appeals for the regional circuit in which the judge serves." See, FAQ page. Since North Carolina is part of the Fourth Circuit, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals hears complaints against federal judges in North Carolina.
All North Carolina Federal District Courts provide access to a form for filing a complaint of judicial misconduct or disability, with further information largely provided by linking to the U.S. Courts official website.
The Eastern District provides a form for filing a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct or Disability, with links to Fourth Circuit and U.S. Court websites for instruction and authority.
Included on the court's Judicial Conduct and Disability webpage are links to the Judicial Complaint Form (for filing a complaint of judicial misconduct or disability), as well as the Judicial Complaint Rules, which details the rules for filing a judicial complaint and a discussion of what judicial conduct may or may not be the subject of a judicial complaint. Specifically, the Notice to the Judicial Complaint Rules distinguishes between conduct properly the subject of a complaint and conduct that must be raised in an appeal through the judicial appellate process (to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals).