Lawyers and the Public Good: Democracy in Action? (The by Alan Paterson

By Alan Paterson

For the 2010 Hamlyn Lectures, Alan Paterson explores diverse aspects of 3 key associations in a democracy: attorneys, entry to justice and the judiciary. relating to legal professionals he asks even if professionalism is now in terminal decline. to envision entry to justice, he discusses prior and current crises in felony reduction and capability endgames, and on the subject of judges he examines attainable mechanisms for reinforcing judicial responsibility. In demonstrating that the benign paternalism of legal professionals in choosing the general public solid with appreciate to such concerns is not any longer unchallenged, he argues that the long run roles of attorneys, entry to justice and the judiciary will purely emerge from dialogues with different stakeholders claiming to talk for the general public curiosity.

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With the status of that profession goes obligations. ’62 The duty to act pro bono publico is one that is rightly coming back into fashion in Scotland, influenced in part by the better organised programmes in England and the championing of the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini. For centuries the profession in the United Kingdom provided poverty legal services to the indigent through noblesse oblige€– or as senior partners put it to young apprentices, our noblesse, your oblige. Indeed, as late as the 1960s the great bulk of senior lawyers in Edinburgh, whether in litigation firms or at the Bar, had spent part of their youth attending the Edinburgh Legal Dispensary, which until recently operated in the Old Quad of the University.

The law societies swiftly passed practice rules setting the parameters as to when the interest should be paid to the client, but these were drawn up in pre-computer days. Now, it would be perfectly feasible to allocate all the interest earned by one client to that 35 Brown v. Inland Revenue 1964 SC (HL) 180. 21 L aw yers and t h e pu blic go od client. However, as we shall see in Chapter 3, the Ministry of Justice is casting envious eyes on the money. Unfortunately, with interest rates the way they are, whatever the Treasury does is not likely to generate very much by way of funding the public good.

Indeed, income targets have become the bane of many a lawyer’s existence. It was cash flow which eventually drove Halliwells€ – a significantly sized English firm€– under, but there were elements of greed also. Certainly, it looked suspiciously like crocodile tears when a few large City firms drastically reduced their employee bonuses for public relations reasons€ – granting a windfall increase to their partners’ profits€ – which had remained remarkably stable in any event. Restraints on competition and market control All of the major restraints on competition within the profession have come under sustained scrutiny in the last thirty years.

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