Professional Legal Ethics: Critical Interrogations

Hardcover | February 3, 2000

byDonald Nicolson, Julian Webb

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Ethics and regulation have become catchwords of the late 1990s, yet relatively little has been written about the ethical discourse and regulation of the legal professions in England and Wales. This book represents the first attempt to subject the ethical discourse of the English legalprofessions to in-depth analysis and sustained critique. Drawing on insights from moral philosophy, social theory, the sociology of the legal profession, public law theories of regulation, and the extensive American literature on lawyers' ethics, it argues that, in seeking to provide definitiveanswers to particular problems of professional conduct, professional legal ethics has failed to deliver an approach which requires lawyers actively to engage with the ethical issues raised by legal practice. Through an analysis of the core issues facing lawyers, the authors locate this failure inthe profession's reliance on a liberal and adversarial role morality that conceptualises the ethical values of human dignity, autonomy and equality in a formalistic and narrowly legalistic manner. This encourages lawyers to overlook the real invasions of these values so often wrought by upholdingclients legal rights, and to ignore the competing claims of affected third parties, the wider community and the environment In seeking to move beyond critique, the authors develop throughout the book a contextual approach to individual ethical decision-making and outline a range of institutional,regulatory and educational reforms which, they suggest, could form the basis for a more ethical brand of professionalism. Professional Legal Ethics: Critical Interrogations is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking analysis written for lawyers, ethicists and policy-makers interested in this neglected area of professional ethics and regulation.

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From the Publisher

Ethics and regulation have become catchwords of the late 1990s, yet relatively little has been written about the ethical discourse and regulation of the legal professions in England and Wales. This book represents the first attempt to subject the ethical discourse of the English legalprofessions to in-depth analysis and sustained criti...

Donald Nicolson taught at the Universities of Cape Town, Warwick and Reading before taking up a post at the University of Bristol in 1992. Here he taught jurisprudence, legal methods, criminal law and gender and the law. He also has a research interest in evidence theory. He is currently at the School of Law at the University of Strat...

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Format:HardcoverPublished:February 3, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198764715

ISBN - 13:9780198764717

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionLawyers And JusticeDefining Professional Legal EthicsAims, Methods And Arguments2. The Philosophical Context: Theoretical Approaches To The Content And Status Of EthicsIntroductionThe Scope Of Philosophical EthicsDeontological EthicsConsequentialismVirtue EthicsPsychology, Feminism And The Ethic Of CarePostmodernism And The Ethics Of AlterityConclusion3. The Social Context: Professional Deals And Institutional SettingsIntroductionThe Ideals Of The Legal ProfessionsThe Procedural ContextProfessional Structures And Institutional ContextsThe Demographic ContextThe Educational ContextThe Business ContextConclusions4. The Regulatory Context: Ethics And Professional Self-RegulationIntroductionThe Institutions Of Self-RegulationCodes Of ConductThe Enforcement Mechanisms5. Duties To The Client: Autonomy And Control In The Lawyer-Client RelationshipIntroductionBoundaries Of AutonomyThe Legal Basis Of Lawyer-Client RelationsControl In The Lawyer-Client RelationshipAutonomy: A Critique And Re-EvaluationReconceptualising Duties To The ClientConclusion: Implication For The Form And Focus Of Codes6. The Lawyers Amoral Role And Lawyer ImmoralityIntroductionThe Lawyers Amoral RoleCriticisms Of Lawyer BehaviourConclusion7. Justifying Neutral PartisanshipIntroductionNeutral Partisanship And Adversarial SystemNeutral Partisanship And Liberal ValuesNeutral Partisanship And The Institutions Of Liberal GovernmentConclusion8. Reforming The Lawyers Amoral RoleIntroductionAlternatives To Neutral PartisanshipMoral Activism And Ethical FoundationsA Contextual Approach To Immoral Ends And MeansImmoral Ends And Decisions To RepresentImmoral Means And Lawyer TacticsA Decision Making Schema For Morally Activist Lawyers9. ConfidentialityIntroductionThe Current PositionCriticisms Of The Current PositionJusitfying ConfidentialityA Contextual Approach To ConfidentialityConclusion10. Conclusion: Towards A More Ethical ProfessionThe Dominance Of Formalism And LiberalismThe Contextual AlternativePossible Objections To A Contextual ApproachInstitutionalising An Ethical Professionalism

Editorial Reviews

`detailed treatment of a formidably wide range of legal ethics.'David Wood, Journal of Law and Society Vol 27 No 3 (2000)