Ethical Theories in the Profession of Law Analytical Essay by Metro

Ethical Theories in the Profession of Law
A review of several ethical theories to determine which one best determines a lawyer professional responsibilities.
# 153659 | 2,816 words | 12 sources | MLA | 2013 | NZ
Published on Aug 21, 2013 in Law (General) , Ethics (General)

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The paper reviews the hired-gun theory, role differentiation theory, cab rank rule, the duty to provide access to justice, and the duties of loyalty and confidence, in order to determine which of these ethical theories is most consistent with the professional responsibilities placed on the legal profession. The paper considers how the profession of law imposes various responsibilities on lawyers and reaches the conclusion that the role differentiation ethical theory is most consistent with lawyers' professional obligations.

Hired-Gun Theory
Role-Differentiation Theory
The Cab Rank Rule & Access to Justice
Duty of Loyalty
Duty of Confidence

From the Paper:

"Though the role-differentiation theory is most consistent with a lawyers professional responsibilities it is important that we first examine the hired-gun theory, as the role differentiation theory simply takes the hired-gun approach one step further. Under this theory the lawyer is seen as a tool of their client, in which they act unquestionably for them in whatever way commanded; the term suggests the idea that a lawyer will 'shoot' for their client, although we should note that in acting a lawyer must still behave within the bounds of the law. Webb explains that the theory "suggests lawyers ought to act entirely in their clients' interests without regard for the moral justification of the case they are taking..." This is because the client's interests are held to be paramount compared to theirs - they are there to tell the client how to achieve the client's goals, not to tell them how the client ought to act. In this respect, client autonomy is central to the theory.
"The concept of neutrality in this theory comes from the notion that a lawyer must assist a client, whether they are a good or bad person with a good or bad cause/goal, with access to justice. Because of the cab rank rule (which we will discuss later) a lawyer is not able to refuse any client at whim, and so the hired-gun theory holds that this lack of decision in who a lawyer represents removes all moral judgment on their part, making them neutral in that respect; it is not their job to judge their client, it is only their job to act."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Graham v Meares Williams HC CHCH CIV-2009-409-001619 [16 November 2009]
  • Harley v MacDonald [2002] 1 NZLR 1
  • Henderson Borough Council v Auckland Regional Authority [1984] 1 NZLR 16
  • Lai v Chamberlains [2005] 3 NZLR 291
  • Bristol & West Building Society v Mothew [1996] 4 All ER 698

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