The Role Of Ethics In Legal Education In The Commonwealth

Paper presented at the 2017 CLEA Conference in Melbourne

Sivanandan Sivakumar
Indian Law Institute (Deemed University) New Delhi, India

Every individual, organisation and profession is judged by their commitment towards ethics. Ethics beget credibility and acceptability. Every profession has its own theory of ethics. Legal profession in its various roles – be it be judiciary, litigating lawyering, legal counselling, legal education- is a most demanding profession of all time and places. Law is a tool to achieve justice. It is an instrumentality to find truth and uphold truth. However, there is a notion world over that lawyer are for sale and that law is accessible only to those who can afford it. Legal profession has become more competitive now days and as a consequence dishonesty, incivility, and acrimony trouble the profession. As a result, pro-bono service, civic involvement etc. of lawyers disappearing. To respond to these problems, core values of ethics must be instilled in the law student from the beginning of his law course. The ethical training and teaching must be a continuous process, it shall not be treated only as a paper for clearing examination. The teaching of ethics must be developed in such a way which will help to foster professionalism in the era of postmodern professionalism inculcating moral responsibilities of lawyers, ensuring access to legal services for all category people, and public accountability for professional regulation.

This paper presumes that knowledge of ethics make the lawyer responsible. It enhances his professional responsibility and social responsibility which in turn will improve the justice delivery system and advance the quality of legal profession in its multi role. and This paper will examine (1) the rationale of ethics instruction at law school (2) role of ethics in legal profession as a whole (2) is there any need to teach ethics in law school, (3) is there sustained or coherent emphasis on student learning ethics in commonwealth legal curricula, (4) what should be the content of legal ethics paper in the changed national and global scenario, and (5) how a renewed focus on ethics in legal education can be brought?

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