Legal services sector needs new 'ethical dashboard'

Legal News | 5 September 2012


Ethics benchmarking essential to maintaining confidence in the profession at times of dramatic change

Structural changes to the legal services sector call for greater emphasis on the role of professional ethics and the development of specific tracking tools for stakeholders, a senior academic has said.

In a report commissioned by the Legal Services Board, director of UCL’s centre of ethics and law Richard Moorhead (pictured) said the growing recognition by lawyers of the importance of upholding ethics was only matched by the lack of scientific data about how this can be managed and monitored.

Moving away from anecdotal evidence and complaints or infractions statistics, the ‘Designing Ethics Indicators for Legal Services Provision’ report advocates creating a dashboard of indicators looking at behaviour as well as at character values, context and individual ethical capacity – the “3Cs”.

This would assess the disposition of individual providers to regard something as ethical or unethical, what incentives are in place within the infrastructure in which individuals work, including the prevalent culture of a firm or market, and how individuals and organisations recognise and reason on decisions.

The approach suggested by the report would include setting up interviews with a representative selection of practitioners to identify ethical issues they regard as important before collecting data and indicators on the 3Cs via further surveys of the profession, consumers and regulators.

“It is not easy, even possible in any definitive sense, to ‘measure’ ethics but it is possible to develop deeper understandings which can aid firms as they manage their own service and regulators as they seek to protect the public interest,” Moorhead said on his blog.

He went on: “Tools can be developed that marry indicators of the ethicality of behaviour, with a deeper understanding of the three Cs: character (our own values); context (the incentives and cultures within legal service providers, markets and professions); and capacity (knowledge and reasoning abilities in relation to ethical problems).”

The liberalisation of the legal services markets has prompted particular concerns over a drop in professional standards as new non-lawyer owned businesses start offering legal services.

But Moorhead said the issue wasn’t solely about new entrants and affected larger commercial firms which have traditionally been seen as able to behave more ethically.

“There is a growing need to think longer and harder about how the profession maintains its mandate as protector of the administration of justice,” he said. “That after all is ultimately the only reason for giving lawyers professional status at all.”

LSB chief executive Chris Kenny welcomed the report, saying it was easy to talk about professional ethics “but the truth is that the integrity of individual practitioners and the ethical infrastructure of their organisations, is crucial for maintaining public confidence in the rule of law as well as for protecting consumers.”


Super! Wonderful post. I'll definitely be saving it for future reference. Just 1 thing you might appreciate knowing is that in Firefox, the post seems to display correctly. It seems perfect with IE and with Chrome too, just so you know. vimax pills
A friend told me about this website, I like the Wonderful blog and amazing design. Your valuable key points implies much a person like me E Liquid
I would say that this is a a great post of a great person,i'm pleased to see this. Buy PR5 Backlinks
A outstanding internet promotion technique with a outstanding catchphrase could create you buy a item, even if the top quality it`s not very outstanding. High Pagerank Backlinks
Excellent understand personally, This is just what We needed. Cheers regarding expressing this excellent write-up! That's very intriguing Smile I like reading in addition to We are always trying to find beneficial information similar to this! to visit on Lambert
Fantastic article, this is so well explained that even my kids could follow it, thanks and keep up the great work! organic pest control
Good job! I must admit that your post is really interesting. I have spent a lot of my spare time reading your content. Thank you a lot! replacement kitchen doors
Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! Simply put your blog post to my favorite blog list and will look forward for additional updates. Simply wanted to write down a word in order to say thanks to you for those wonderful tips. Online Ordering System
This is a good post. This post gives truly quality informationIncrease youtube views Explainer Video Explainer Video
Thank you for presenting your points and providing this information. I have learned something about this topic. japanese mini truck parts
My rather long net hunt has at the tip of the day been remunerated with pleasant insight to speak concerning with my family and friends. buy backlinks
I enjoyed reading your post and remember 2007 while I was in Amsterdam. I wanted to see a tulip garden, and asked around but no one was able to point me one. We drove at least 2 hours to find one but no luck.
I really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors for this blog. I will bookmark this page for my future reference. Thanks! moveis planejados
Give Feedback