Ethic of the Legal Profession

Dr. Purushothaman
December 13, 2013

Professional responsibility about lawyers accepting they have obligations to the community.

- Competent lawyer serves community interest in the maintenance and development of the administration of justice (“to make successful the service of law to the community” per Kitto J in Ziems v Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of New South Wales (1957) 97 CLR 279, 297).

-Link between lawyer dissatisfaction and strict commercial/entrepreneurial approach to legal practice?

-Link between regard for legal profession and perceived legal ethic as self-interest, rather than community interest? If you need essay help, or help writing custom essays, visit The Uni Tutor.

-As community trust of the profession, becomes more difficult for lawyers to do their jobs.

-Looking outside the legal profession to provide legal services (eg licensed conveyancersetc).

Challenges Facing the Profession

-adapting to changing social values and revolutionary technology

-reorganising itself to provide more effective, real and affordable access to legal advice and representation by ordinary citizens,

-preserving and defending rules of honesty, fidelity, loyalty, diligence, competence and dispassion, in the service of clients,

-adapting to the growth/changing composition of society and the profession, and

-moulding itself to the fast-changing content and complexity of substantive and procedural law.

-Challenges only likely to be met if ideal of profession is faithful service beyond purely economic self-interest.For essay help, visit The Uni Tutor.

-Challenges also include insurance premiums, cases of misappropriation, complaints against practitioners, costs of running a practice.

-Engagement - Apparent that solicitors need to ask themselves “am I qualified to take on this matter?”, but also, “should I take this matter for this client at this time and on what terms?”

-Nature of Privileges/Obligations Arising Out of Membership of the Profession

-Admission is precondition to grant of privilege of acting as solicitor. Offence under s 48C of the Legal Profession Act 1987 (NSW) for a person to falsely pretend to be qualified to act as a solicitor. Offence under s 48E to act as a solicitor when not so qualified (but extent of lawyers “monopoly” only extends to “general legal work” as defined in s 48E).

-Communications between solicitor and client for the purposes of obtaining or giving legal advice are generally protected from disclosure (egss 117-26 Evidence Act 1995). Rationale for privilege is to encourage the client to make a full and frank disclosure of relevant circumstances (Grant v Downs (1976) 135 CLR 674).

-Privilege of acting as a solicitor is conferred by law not for the benefit of the solicitor, but on the public policy ground that privileges are seen to be necessary to provide a working system for the administration of justice.For essay help, visit The Uni Tutor.

-Lawyers have obligation to “conduct (themselves) in relation to those privileges and otherwise in a manner which will uphold the law and further its pure administration”. (per Moffitt P in Re B [1981] 2 NSWLR 377).

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