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The Status of Legal Ethics

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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 5: Legal ethics among legal sciences

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Chapter 5 Legal ethics among legal sciences The multi-dimensional theory of legal ethics, presented in the previous chapters, is an attempt at creating a perspective that would correspond with contemporary transformations of the traditions of legal ethics and simultaneously that would enable modern and critical studies in this discipline to be carried out. However in order to conduct such studies, a theory is not enough, even if it offered appropriate methodology and defined the status of its own premises and statement. For it has to be remarked that systematic research requires additional directives heuristic in nature, which may steer often dipersed efforts of scientists. Typically, such directives are formulated on the ground of particular scientific disciplines, which, in reference to legal ethics, must raise two serious questions. Firstly, whether it has a research program that is precise enough to distinguish legal ethics from other disciplines being part of broadly understood legal sciences. Secondly, whether the multi-dimensional character of legal ethics and the methodological compexity related to it do not obstruct such a distinction or do not make legal ethics a field of knowledge of special status. 5.1. Research program of legal ethics Legal ethics, both in its traditional versions as well as from the perspectives of modern and critical theory, concerns phenomena occurring in legal practice. Therefore, one may accept the assumption, without the need of justification, that if legal ethics may be regarded as a discipline of knowledge – as it is by the multi-dimensional theory of legal ethics – then...

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