Supreme Court Seal
Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Branch


(a) Officers. The Supreme Court shall appoint one member to serve as the chair and another to serve as the vice-chair of the Commission. The vice-chair shall perform the duties of the chair whenever the chair is absent or unable to act.

(b) Panels and Meetings. The members of the Commission, other than the chair, vice-chair and public members, shall be divided by the chair into 4 panels of 6 members. Each panel shall be composed of 2 members who are judges from the circuit court, judges from the family court or masters-in-equity; 1 member who is a judge from the magistrate, municipal or probate courts; 1 attorney member; and 2 public members. The panels shall be assigned to serve as an investigative panel or a hearing panel as designated by the chair. If the panel is assigned to serve as an investigative panel, the chair shall add either the chair or the vice-chair to the panel to increase its membership to 7. The chair may rotate the assignments of the panels as investigative or hearing panels, and may rotate membership on the panels; provided, however, that no member shall sit on both the investigative and hearing panel for the same proceeding. Panels shall meet when scheduled by the Commission. The full Commission shall meet periodically as determined by the Commission to consider administrative matters. Meetings of the Commission other than periodic meetings may be called by the chair upon the chair's own motion and shall be called by the chair upon the written request of 3 members of the Commission.

(c) Quorum. 10 members of the full Commission, 5 members of an investigative panel and 3 members of a hearing panel shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Where necessary to obtain a quorum for a panel, the chair of the Commission may appoint substitute members from another panel; provided, however, that no member who has served on an investigative panel in a matter may be appointed to serve on the hearing panel for that matter.

(d) Expenses. Subject to such policies as the Office of Fiscal Services of the Judicial Branch may establish, members shall be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred pursuant to their duties.

(e) Powers and Duties of the Commission.

(1) The Commission shall have the duty and authority to:

(A) adopt its own rules of procedure for discipline proceedings, incapacity proceedings, and proceedings to determine whether a judge is unable to participate in a disciplinary investigation or assist in the defense of formal proceedings due to a physical or mental condition subject to the approval of the Supreme Court; and

(B) propose amendments to the Code of Judicial Conduct and these Rules for Judicial Disciplinary Enforcement to the Supreme Court.

(2) In addition to the duties assigned to Commission counsel in Rule 6, the Commission may delegate to Commission counsel the duty and authority to:

(A) maintain the Commission's records;

(B) maintain statistics concerning the operation of the Commission and make them available to the Commission and the Supreme Court;

(C) prepare an annual report of the Commission's activities for presentation to the Supreme Court and the public;

(D) inform the public of the existence and operation of the judicial discipline system, including the Commission's address and telephone number and the disposition of each matter in which public discipline is imposed;

(E) monitor judges for compliance with conditions of discipline and deferred discipline and refer judges who fail to comply to disciplinary counsel for contempt proceedings; and,

(F) supervise attorneys, court reporters, and other staff as the Supreme Court may provide to the Commission.

(f) Powers and Duties of Investigative Panel. An investigative panel shall have the duty and authority to:

(1) review the recommendations of disciplinary counsel after investigation and either issue a letter of caution, issue notice of intent to impose a confidential admonition, enter into a deferred discipline agreement, consider an agreement for discipline by consent, authorize formal charges, refer the matter to another agency, or dismiss the complaint;

(2) designate a member of the panel to preside over the investigative panel in the absence of the chair or vice-chair of the Commission;

(3) declare a matter closed but not dismissed prior to the filing of formal charges; and,

(4) after proper notice, re-open a matter that has been previously dismissed or closed but not dismissed.

(g) Powers and Duties of Hearing Panel. A hearing panel shall have the duty and authority to:

(1) designate a member of the panel to serve as the chair of the panel to address administrative matters related to formal proceedings and rule on pre-hearing motions;

(2) conduct hearings on formal charges and make findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Supreme Court for the disposition of the case, pursuant to Rule 26; and

(3) recommend that a matter be closed, but not dismissed, after the filing of formal charges.

(h) Recusal. A member of the Commission shall recuse himself or herself in any matter in which recusal would be required of a judicial officer under the Code of Judicial Conduct.

(i) Complaints Against Members of the Commission. If a complaint is filed against a member of the Commission who is a judge, the Commission member against whom the complaint has been filed shall not participate in the investigation or adjudication of the matter.

Last amended by Order dated September 28, 2022.