Legal Ethics 14 (1):21-47 (2011)

While lawyers' independence initially developed as a way of protecting lawyers and their clients from the power of the state, it is now also associated with the protection of the public interest from lawyers who are too close to their clients. In this context independence is seen as a way of ensuring that lawyers act ethically, that is, with regard to their overriding duty to the court and the administration of justice rather than according to sectional, personal or economic interests. It has been noted in various contexts that lawyers who work closely with powerful clients may be less able to withstand client pressure and uphold their obligations to the administration of justice. In-house lawyers are seen as particularly vulnerable due to their position within the client's organisational structure. On the other hand some have argued that the position of in-house lawyers gives them greater potential to exercise independent judgment and influence the ethical behaviour of their organisation. This paper argues that the concept of independence is multi-faceted with the essential aspect being the capacity for independent judgment or independence of mind. This is supported by status, power and structural protections. The paper goes on to critically consider the courts' interpretations of independence of in-house counsel in the context of claims of client legal privilege (also known as legal professional privilege). The paper argues that the judicial tests reveal a number of different approaches with limited connection to core concepts of independence
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DOI 10.5235/146072811796373014
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John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty".John C. Rees & G. L. Williams - 1988 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 42 (4):704-706.
Ethical Autonomy.Andrews Reath - 1998 - In Craig Edward (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 1.

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