The Social Responsibilities of Lawyers The Future of Regulation

Arup, Christopher (2004) The Social Responsibilities of Lawyers The Future of Regulation. Other. Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.


My paper examines the social rights and responsibilities of lawyers in the contemporary Australian context. That context is the relationships between lawyers, the state, commerce and the public. The content of the regulation of legal practice is drawn from several sources. Much is determined on the State level and I shall work with the example of my State, Victoria. The sources of regulation include State legislation, the common law of the courts, and the practice rules of the state registered lawyers associations, the Law Institute of Victoria and the Victorian Bar.1 The sources establish rights of practice for qualified lawyers. In return for these rights, it identifies standards of professional conduct, so we may say that the individual practitioner assumes duties to his client, the courts and tribunals, other practitioners, and members of the community. Those duties encompass honesty, candour, diligence, courtesy and fairness. The practitioner must also maintain the client's confidences and avoid conflicts of interest, either between the practitioner and the client or between two or more clients. In this paper on social responsibility, I look not so much at the particular duties of the lawyer in everyday practice, as they are being discussed in my colleagues' papers. Instead, my focus is on the broad changes in the structure and style of legal practice. My argument is that regulation must adapt if it is to remain effective and responsive.

Item type Monograph (Other)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 390000 Law, Justice and Law Enforcement
Historical > FOR Classification > 1801 Law
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Law
Keywords lawyers; social rights; Australian context; state; commerce; public; regulations; common law; state legislation
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