Family Lawyering and Legal Ethics

Richard H. S. Tur

in Legal Ethics and Legal Practice

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198259459
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681950 | DOI:
Family Lawyering and Legal Ethics

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This chapter suggests that some reformulation of the conflict-of-interest rules of professional conduct is highly desirable in order to permit family lawyers to act, where appropriate, for and in the best interests of the family rather than solely for one individual member against another, perhaps contrary to the interests of the majority of the family members. Although the proposed reform may appear modest in terms of existing codes of conduct and established principles of legal practice, especially in jurisdictions such as England where these have already been slightly relaxed, if implemented the change would impact very significantly upon the nature of family lawyering and greatly increase ‘ethical opportunity in the practice of [family] law’. Family lawyers would be freed to pursue morally acceptable ends openly rather than by stealth and would also be encouraged to view family breakdown less as a matter of taking sides in a no-win battle and more as a question of directing skill and ingenuity to reaching, in co-operation with those whose lives are most directly affected, a win-win outcome. In addition, proper weight could then be given to the common interests of the parties in an expeditious and economic settlement transcending the purely emotional conflicts which are easily misperceived as conflicts of interest.

Keywords: family law; legal ethics; litigation; family lawyers; conflict-of-interest rules; legal practice

Chapter.  12805 words. 

Subjects: Legal System and Practice

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