Legal Ethics 20 (2):201-223 (2017)

Andrew Higgins
Illinois State University
ABSTRACTThis article critically examines the value and scope of the cab rank rule in England and Australia. Despite the laudable non-discrimination principle underpinning it, the cab rank rule is subject to so many exceptions it is debatable whether the rule has any effect, positive or negative, on access to justice. On the other hand, when the rule is followed, it has the potential to unnecessarily distort the legal services market. Despite legitimate questions about its continued relevance, the paper argues that the rationale for the cab rank rule remains critically important in an age where most people are unable to afford private legal representation and are ineligible for public legal assistance. The cab rank rule could play a greater role in delivering access to justice for all, by ‘rebooting’ it as a limited universal service obligation to provide legal representation for all who genuinely need it but cannot obtain it privately. In practice this would involve the creation of a compartmentalised pub...
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DOI 10.1080/1460728x.2017.1292623
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