So why is ethics important to the practice of law?
1. First because lawyers are integral to the working-out of the law and the Rule of Law itself is founded on principles of justice, fairness and equity. If lawyers do not adhere and promote these ethical principles then the law will fall into disrepute and people will resort to alternative means of resolving conflict. The Rule of Law will fail with a rise of public discontent. Second, lawyers are professionals. This concept conveys the notion that issues of ethical responsibility and duty are an inherent part of the legal profession. It has been said that a profession's most valuable asset is its collective reputation and the confidence which that inspires. The legal profession especially must have the confidence of the community. Justice Kirby of the Australian High Court once noted: The challenge before the legal profession....is to resolve the basic paradoxes which it faces....To reorganize itself in such a way as to provide more effective, real and affordable access to legal advice and representation by ordinary citizens. To preserve and where necessary, to defend the best of the old rules requiring honesty, fidelity loyalty, diligence, competence and dispassion in the service of clients, above mere self-interest and specifically above commercial self-advantage.
Thirdly, because lawyers are admitted as officers of the court and therefore have an obligation to serve the court and the administration of justice. And finally because lawyers are a privileged class for only lawyers can, for reward, take on the causes of others and bring them before the courts. 2. Embedding ethics more firmly into legal education and the training system will significantly strengthen the standing of solicitors domestically and internationally, and enhance the public’s confidence in the profession. Professional ethics are by no means unique to lawyers, but they do provide a central part of the professional packages that...
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