Legal ethics is (just) normal ethics: towards a coherent system of legal ethics
Bagaric, Mirko and Dimopoulos, Penny 2003, Legal ethics is (just) normal ethics: towards a coherent system of legal ethics, Queensland University of Technology law and justice journal, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 367-396.
Queensland University of Technology law and justice journal
Queensland University of Technology. Faculty of Law
Place of publication
The standards governing how lawyers ought to conduct themselves consist of a number disparate principles and rules, which are devoid of an overarching rationale. We argue that legal ethics is not a stand-alone social construct. Rather, it is the application of normal ethical principles so far as they relate to the law. Approached in this manner, legal ethics becomes a far more coherent and justifiable institution. In this paper we apply general moral theory to several key dilemmas facing lawyers. This results in outcomes which some may find counter-intuitive. We conclude that lawyers should not do pro bono work; that the first cab rank off the rank principle is unsound and that there is no relevant difference between expressly misleading the court and putting the other side to the proof of its case.