Cincinnati judge holds court at United Nations

CONTACT:  Kenneth A. Brown, OSBA, 800-282-6556 or 614-487-4426

Columbus, OHIO (Feb. 23, 2011) – Judge Mark Painter of Cincinnati is one of seven judges, and the only American, to serve on a new internal justice system within the United Nations. Painter says the position came about after he answered a want ad for the new U.N. Appeals Tribunal.   

“I sent my resume to an e-mail listed in the ad, thinking, ‘They want seven people from the whole world and I’ll never hear anything more from this.’” To his surprise, Judge Painter was contacted. The vetting process ended with a vote by the U.N. General Assembly.

Judge Painter is preparing to attend the fourth session of the court, to be held Feb. 28-March 11 in New York City. The inaugural session was held last spring in Geneva, Switzerland, and two other sessions were held during 2010 in New York. Cases have included disputes over promotions, discipline, and pensions.

The court is internationally diverse, with judicial representatives from France, Argentina, Ghana, India, Uruguay and Ireland. Judge Painter says the judges get along quite well. “At first, there was a concern because four of us are from common law countries and three are from civil law countries. But we haven’t had any problem harmonizing and coming to the right conclusions on the cases.” He adds that out of the first 100 cases decided last year, there have been only two dissents.

The judges will have non-renewable seven-year terms, but because Judge Painter is among those appointed for an initial term of three years, he may be re-appointed for seven more years when the current term concludes next year.

Judge Painter was an elected trial and appellate judge for 27 years. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he earned his law degree in 1973. He has also been a speaker for Ohio State Bar Association continuing legal education courses on the art of legal writing.

The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 25,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio as well as nearly 4,000 legal assistants and law students. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.


Editors note: A video interview with Judge Painter is available on the Ohio State Bar Association’s YouTube channel at A picture of a recent court session and a picture of Judge Painter with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are also available.



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