"The Conflict between a Lawyer's own Personal Morality and his Duties to the Client and the Court."

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This question tackles one of the fundamental questions in Legal Ethics. Is the lawyer's primary duty to establish the truth, or is it to get the best result for his client? In other words, does the lawyer represent the court or his client, and does either of these approaches favour justice? The problems which this issue can cause are seen in the three main areas of Legal Ethics, namely Confidentiality and Privilege, Conflicts of Interest and The Adversarial System. As such, to determine the extent of the conflict between a lawyer's own morality and his duties to the client and the court, each of these areas will be looked at in turn.

The lawyer's morality, it must always be remembered, is personal. It must be stated that as such, it is improbable that any two lawyers will have exactly the same morals, and that even though procedural rules and codes of conduct may prevent a lawyer from acting in a certain way, it may be the case that the lawyer would act in the prescribed way even in their absence.

However, what is of interest in this question is the mere presence of the rules, as they seek to prevent certain types of conduct, not merely discourage it.

The rules of Confidentiality and Privilege prevent lawyers from passing on information that their clients have told them. Confidentiality is not confined to the legal profession, and is in effect a promise of trust between two people. Lawyers, however, enjoy the concept of legal professional privilege, which is a rule of evidence that prevents a lawyer being a compellable witness. Stair says that advocates "are not obliged to depone as to any secret committed to them." The privilege is now more complex, as set out by Wigmore:

(1)Where legal...