FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Elizabeth Jane Broderick,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 91-54

 

Chairman, Council on Legal Ethics,

 

Respondent October 9, 1991

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 3, 1991, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1. The respondent maintains that he is not a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. It is found that the Council on Legal Ethics ("Council") was created by and reports to the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

 

3. It is found that the Council drafted for the Chief Justice recommendations to the Rules Committee of the Superior Court ("Rules Committee") concerning attorney ethics, for ultimate adoption into the Connecticut Practice Book by the judges of the Superior Court.

 

4. It is found that these recommendations concerned attorney ethics, including recommendations concerning the creation of an office of attorney ethics, and revisions of the the rules concerning client security funds and the maintenance of trust accounts.

 

5. It is concluded that the Council on Legal Ethics is an ad hoc committee of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

6. It is therefore concluded that the Council is a committee of a judicial official within the meaning of 1-18a(a).

 

7. The complainant maintains that the Council performs an administrative function within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

 

Docket #FIC 90-54 Page 2

 

8. In support of her claim, the complainant points out that the Council is concerned with the administration of judicial business, with the improvement of the judicial system, and with the effective administration of justice, all within the meaning of 51-5a, G.S.

 

9. It is found, however, that the Council plays no greater role in the management of the internal institutional machinery of the court system than does the Rules Committee.

 

10. It is therefore concluded that the Council does not perform administrative functions within the meaning of 1-18a(a) and Rules Committee of the Superior Court v. FOIC, 192 Conn. 234 (1984).

 

11. It is therefore concluded that the respondent is not a public agency subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. The complaint is dismissed.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 9, 1991.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission


 

Docket #FIC 90-54 Page 3

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

Elizabeth Jane Broderick

86 Moody Avenue

Fairfield, CT 06432

 

Chairman, Council on Legal Ethics

c/o A. Searle Pinney, Esq.

Pinney, Payne, Van Lenten Burrell, Wolfe & Dillman, P.C.

83 Wooster Heights

P.O. Box 3499

Danbury, CT 06813-3499

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission