An Ethics Survey of Australian Criminal Law Practitioners
The ethics of criminal lawyers is a largely unexplored area of legal scholarship. This article offers preliminary insights into the ethics of a cohort of 20 Australian criminal law practitioners. It critiques the survey responses of defence lawyers, prosecutors and judicial officers to a series of ethics questions. The survey results suggest that criminal law practitioners deal with a variety of ethical issues in practice; regard themselves as ethical professionals; are generally not prepared to compromise their professional integrity by violating the professional conduct rules to advance the interests of a client; consider senior criminal lawyers to have a professional duty to assist junior practitioners when called upon to offer advice on ethical issues; and strongly support the inclusion of a mandatory legal ethics subject in Australian law degrees. Criminal law practitioners’ perceptions of both their own professional behaviour and the adequacy of applicable professional conduct rules (1) in addressing ethical issues that arise in the practice of criminal law, are also explored in this article.
Clarke, B. (2003). An ethics survey of Australian criminal law practitioners. Criminal Law Journal, 27(3), 142-156.