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What is the Code of Conduct?

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

When MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) are elected to take their seats in Parliament Buildings, at Stormont, in Belfast, they are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct at all times.

The Code of Conduct is a set of ethical standards and outlines how MLAs are expected to behave and conduct themselves so that the public can trust them and have confidence in the work that they do.

Within the guidelines of the Code of Conduct, MLAs must:

  • never undertake any action which would bring the Assembly into disrepute. This encourages MLAs to act responsibly.

  • always act in the interest of the public rather than personal interests. This ensures that they act responsibly.

  • to resolve any conflict at once in favour of the public interest. This encourages them to take action and behave responsibly.

  • uphold the criminal law and equality law. This places a responsibility on MLAs to act within the law.

  • declare any financial interests. This encourages MLAs to act in the public interests and not for their own financial gain.

  • act responsibly by declaring other employment and earnings. This encourages them to be open and transparent about their earnings and the work they do.

MLAs in breach of the Code of Conduct may be investigated (by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards). If the MLA is found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct they face sanctions. This helps to encourage MLAs to act responsibly.

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