The Commission is asked for an opinion as to whether an Associate Magistrate is disqualified to represent a client as his attorney because the opposite party has filed numerous civil actions in the Magistrate Court where the Associate Magistrate is a presiding judge. O.C.G.A. § 15-10-22 authorizes a magistrate to practice law, except in his own court or in a matter as to which he has exercised jurisdiction, and the question asks if he must nevertheless disqualify himself to represent a client because the opposite party has brought other cases in the court in which he presides as an Associate Magistrate. The answer to this question is no, unless the number and frequency of such cases, and the fact that the Associate Magistrate might thereby make it necessary for him to disqualify himself to preside in such cases when brought by such opposite parties in his court, would or might unduly interfere with the proper performance of his judicial duties.
[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 1.2(B), 2.11, 3.10, 3.11. Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #31, #44, #45, #48, #69, #134, #180.]