Research Report: Conflicts of Interest in Law Firms in Belgium

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Abstract:

Law firms in Belgium, unlike their counterparts in the Anglo-Saxon world, are a relatively new phenomenon. Inevitably, these newly emerged firms soon came to face previously unknown ethical and deontological issues. They were, in other words, confronted with the question of conflicts of interest. In view of the lack of systematic insight into the nature of this confrontation, it seemed useful to devote a legal-sociological study to the matter. The research provides a balanced and comprehensive picture of (medium-) large law firms in Belgium. What are the lawyers' attitudes vis-à-vis the ethical rules? Do their views deviate from what is prescribed in the code of conduct? However, we noticed that commercial considerations also come into play. In fact, law firms are more likely to face commercial conflicts of interest than legal ones. Further, attention is paid to the detection and resolution of conflicts of interest.

Keywords: BELGIAN LAW FIRMS; CHINESE WALLS; COMMERCIAL INTEREST; CONFLICT OF INTEREST; ETHICAL CODE; INCREASE OF CONFLICT; INTERNATIONALISATION OF CONFLICT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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