Judicial Disqualification Resource Center


glacierRecusal and Disqualification in Alaska

In 1967 Alaska’s legislature passed Alaska Stat. §22.20.022, which afforded Alaska litigants the right to peremptorily disqualify judges for bias in all types of proceedings, whether civil or criminal in nature. In 1969, Alaska’s Supreme Court held, in Channel Flying, Inc. v. Bernhardt, that in accordance with the new statute, once a timely and proper affidavit is filed the challenged judge is disqualified immediately from acting as a judge in the proceeding. This rule has been consistently followed in Alaska.

Alaska’s Supreme Court promulgated two court rules to deal with the procedural aspects of peremptory disqualification – Alaska Criminal Rule 25, which implements the peremptory disqualification right in criminal cases; and Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 42(c), which controls the procedure and scope of peremptory disqualification in civil cases.

The justifiable reasons for recusal of an Alaska judge for cause are spelled out in AS 22.20.020(a). For example, Alaska judges must recuse themselves if there are objective indicia of actual bias, or even an appearance of bias; but a mere appearance of bias requires a greater showing by the moving party.



1. For an excellent article discussing the subject of judicial disqualification in Alaska (through 1999) see M. Greenstein, JUDICIAL DISQUALIFICATION IN ALASKA COURTS, 17 Alaska L. Rev. 53 (June 2000)


2. Recusal records for Alaska judges (through 2010) can be found by clicking here.


3. For a comprehensive overview of recusal and disqualification law in Alaska which is updated annually see Flamm, R., Judicial Disqualification: Recusal and Disqualification of Judges, §§  27.2 and 28.3 . See also Rosales v. Icicle Seafoods, Inc., Supreme Court No. S-14855, No. 6819, SUPREME COURT OF ALASKA, 2013 Alas. LEXIS 116, *26 n.45 (Alaska 2013), citing Richard E. Flamm, Judicial Disqualification: Recusal and Disqualification of Judges,     1.1 at 283-85 (2d ed. 2007). To locate libraries in your neighborhood that hold this book click here.