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Lawyers' duties, adversarialism and partisanship in UK legal ethics

Nicolson, Donald and Webb, Julian (2004) Lawyers' duties, adversarialism and partisanship in UK legal ethics. Legal Ethics, 7 (2). pp. 133-140. ISSN 1460-728X

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Abstract

In very broad terms, there can be said to be two main concerns that have been debated in this journal: the "what" and the "how" of lawyers' ethics. The first of these focuses on the content of lawyers' ethics, both empirically and normatively, examining issues such as whether lawyers should act for any client irrespective of the morality of their objectives,2 how far lawyers should go in pursuing client interests,3 how to reconcile conflicts of interest,4 whether there should be limits to the lawyer's duty of confidentiality,5 how to safeguard clients' money6 and how best to ensure access to justice.7 The second concern of legal ethics raises the question of how to ensure that lawyers actually uphold whatever norms are regarded as appropriate; or, for those who recognise that there are no categorically correct answers to ethical dilemmas, with the question of how to ensure that lawyers at least care about and are committed to acting morally.