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The Status of Legal Ethics


Pawel Teodor Skuczynski

The basic aim of the study is to describe the ambiguity of the term legal ethics in the context of different traditions and conceptions. The three most important traditions of legal ethics are: the French, with the categories of virtue and independence, the American, with the ideas of loyalty and professional duties, and the German, with professional roles and obedience. On that base, a theory of critical legal ethics is developed. It claims that the subject of legal ethics consists of three planes – deontological, social and moral. Further it is examined, whether chosen legal-philosophical conceptions contain any legal ethics conceptions and what could be the interdisciplinary research program of legal ethics.


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Chapter 4: Legal ethics and some theoretical models of law


Chapter 4 Legal ethics and some theoretical models of law 4.1. Preliminary remarks On its highest plane, legal ethics is the ethics of responsibility. Because of this, the professional roles of lawyers may be validly formed on the basis of goals and values, which in turn provide a foundation for the formulation of professional duties. Due to reflective validity of the responsibility principle, its subject is the good of the argumentative discourse itself and of the community in which it is held. In consequence, mere participation in legal practice means taking responsibility for it and accepting the obligation of acting for its good. However, such a view raises some doubts, namely about the extent to which the concepts of discourse and community are connected with the concept of practice; thus firstly, does adoption of the responsibility principle validated in the aforementioned way exact simultaneous adoption of a defined conception of law, i.e. of some version of a discursive view? Secondly, do currently predominant views of law as practice include, more or less implicite, some legal ethics, and if they do then what is the relationship to the multi-dimensional theory of legal ethics, and can it be interpreted and systematically examined with its categories? It seems that the answer to the second question, being a more general one, will at the same time resolve the first problem from the scope of philosophy of law. Therefore, the search for this answer will be the focus of further discussion. This of course requires...

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