Ethics and the Criminal Defence Lawyer

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The article seeks to examine the ethical problems of defence lawyering, focussing on key issues such as defending person believed to be guilty, knowledge that the court has made an error of law or fact, and the vexed problem of advice on plea. Some of the ethical problems of advocacy are also discussed, and compared with the duties of all advocates to the court. The article draws not only upon ethical codes but also on empirical research, to show the problems of encouraging ethical conduct.

Keywords: codes of ethics; cross-examination; defence lawyers; errors of fact; errors of law; guilty plea; occupational cultures

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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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