Grievant Confidentiality Unconstitutional – RM v. Supreme Court

This morning, the New Jersey Supreme court ruled that the provisions of its own Rule 1:20-9, mandating confidentiality in attorney grievance matters is unconstitutional as a violation of the First Amendment.

Rule 1:20-9 requires that a grievance filed against a New Jersey attorney remain confidential unless and until a complaint has been filed against the subject attorney. In overturning this Rule, the court held that enforcement of this policy does not further a compelling governmental interest. The Justices also ruled that a grievant who speaks publicly and outside of the attorney disciplinary process about an attorney disciplinary matter before it goes to the complaint stage and thus becomes a matter of public record does so at his own peril.

The Court ruled that confidentiality will continue for cases that have been concluded. The ability to publicly discuss disciplinary matters in the grievance stage of the the process applies to all future cases and those that are now pending.

Download a copy of RM v. The Supreme Court of New Jersey

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