Chapter

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Ross Cranston

in Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198259312
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681936 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198259312.003.0001
Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

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This chapter offers an overview of legal ethics and professional responsibility. The contours of the regulatory regime for legal ethics are briefly addressed. Then, the key ethical rules and some of the difficult issues with which students of legal ethics must grapple are outlined. The broader implications of professional responsibility are described. Examples of the behavioural standards which the courts have evolved for the profession arise throughout the chapter. The three duties, namely secrecy, diligence and fidelity, provide the pegs for an exposition of the central rules of professional responsibility. An underlying theme of this chapter has been that the move to more definite rules is not only inevitable but also desirable. In addition, by the same token — a second underlying theme of the chapter — the existing codes of professional practice cannot simply be treated as a system of specific rules. Third, the current set of ethical rules is contestable. Lastly, legal ethics have to be conceived of within the more general area of professional responsibility. It can be stated that law schools have failed in the areas of legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Keywords: legal ethics; professional responsibility; behavioural standards; secrecy; diligence; fidelity

Chapter.  17681 words. 

Subjects: Legal System and Practice

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