Supreme Court Revises Mental Health Question for Bar Applicants

Press Release

News Release

STUART RABNER
Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court

 


PETER McALEER
MARYANN SPOTO

Office of Communications
609-815-2910

RICHARD J. HUGHES JUSTICE COMPLEX • P.O. BOX 037 • TRENTON, NJ 08625-0984 RELEASE DATE: Sept. 21, 2023

Supreme Court Revises Mental Health Question for Bar Applicants

The Supreme Court today announced new limits on the type of information bar applicants will be required to disclose about mental health conditions.   

The Court approved changes to the Character and Fitness questionnaire, which is used to determine a Bar applicant’s fitness to practice law. The narrowed inquiry will ask about a candidate’s past conduct and behavior as opposed to mental health treatment or diagnosis.  

The Court exempted applicants from disclosing conduct or behavior related to a mental health condition for which they are being or have been treated effectively by a health care provider or medical professional. The new approach also applies to conduct related to alcohol or drug addiction that is being treated effectively through participation in an established treatment program.  

“These revisions to the Character and Fitness questionnaire encourage Bar candidates to take positive steps to treat their mental health and addiction issues. That approach will enable them to become better lawyers and serve the public well,” Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said.

Candidates are required, however, to disclose the use of any condition or impairment as a defense to an inquiry, investigation, or administrative or judicial proceeding.

The changes will go into effect on Oct. 1 when applications open up for the next bar examination.
 

 

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