14 Ratio Juris 1 (2001)

handle is hein.journals/raju14 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Ratio Juris. Vol. 14 No. 1 March 2001 (1-9)

Lawyers' Professional Ethics-

Do They Exist?


Abstract. The author's aim is to prove that certain moral principles will always be
etched into laws when the interest of society demands it and when morality as a set
of norms guiding behavior no longer functions in an expected manner outside the
system of law. In this paper, it is argued that morality is constituted within the law in
a more profound way as well as in a way which is also much more difficult to
identify than, for example, conventional instructions concerning professional ethics
may indicate. The main thesis is that de facto there are no particular professional
ethics of lawyers beyond or above the ethical principles binding all people.

The story goes that in old Japanese society, which Akira Kurosawa describes
for example in his film Seven Samurai, the most suitable person to be a judge
was the one who knew both parties best. Such a person was able to take into
account the circumstances of the case and even its hidden facts better than
an unfamiliar person. In modern Western society, in a society in which we
live, this situation would be impossible. We say without batting an eyelid:
Too close a relationship to the interested parties disqualifies the judge.
  However, the problem is more complex than it looks at first sight.
Whether the example is literally true or not, the Japanese judge of the
example was bound by the moral principles of the society, by a code, which
each decision-maker had internalized. The same code drove a Samurai from
one feat of valor to another, and the same code still inspired courtly poetry
in the Middle Ages. The moral code safeguarded members of a community
and produced legal protection.
  The difficulty of modern and postmodern society lies in the fact that this
sort of a shared moral code, which lends coherence to a community, has
disintegrated a great deal. We have been obligated to replace the code with
various kinds of quite complex disqualification provisions, which are to
guarantee the neutrality of the judge. Legal rules have been substituted for
moral codes.

 Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 lJF, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.

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