Modernising duties: legislation or education?

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Will rules governing lawyers conduct where competing values collide only ever be of secondary importance in comparison to the values lawyers apply to their conduct in practice?

There are good reasons for such rules to be enshrined in legislation. Not only would it be a signal to the profession and the public that such rules are of the highest importance, but it would also reflects the fact that they are imposed from outside of the profession for the benefit of all. However, for such values to be useful they must be placed within a meaningful legal, social and personal context by the lawyers who apply them and resolve the resulting conflicts.

How long will general broad rules remain meaningless platitudes behind which lawyers hide?

Keywords: Access to Justice Bill; The Employment Contracts Act 1991 (NZ); legislative intervention

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • Legal Ethics is an international and interdisciplinary journal devoted to the field of legal ethics.
    The journal provides an intellectual meeting ground for academic lawyers, practitioners and policy-makers to debate developments shaping the ethics of law and its practice at the micro and macro levels.
    Its focus is broad enough to encompass empirical research on the ethics and conduct of the legal professions and judiciary, studies of legal ethics education and moral development, ethics development in contemporary professional practice, the ethical responsibilities of law schools, professional bodies and government, and jurisprudential or wider philosophical reflections on law as an ethical system and on the moral obligations of individual lawyers.
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