Discuss Barrister\’s legal ethics



\”A[n] advocate, in his discharge of his duty, knows but one person in all the world, and that person is his client. To save the client by all means and expedients, and at all hazards and costs to other persons, and, amongst them, to himself, is his first and only duty; and in performing this duty he must not regard the alarm, the torment, and the destruction which he may bring upon another.\” – Henry Lord Brougham, 2 Trial of Queen Caroline 3(1821)

Explain to what extent this statement hold true today by reference to the BSB code of conduct

In Particular, consider the relationship between Barristers\’ duties to their clients and their duties to the court

My Instructions: i have written a very rough guideline on how to approach this essay but you will need to conduct majority of the research yourself and if needed change around the structure if you thinks its best(my knowledge on the topic is not very extensive)

The assessment criteria is based on the knowledge of the topic that is displayed. So you will need to make reference to:
1)BSB code of conduct handbook and how that defines Barristers relationship to the client and to the court. You will need to make reference to Statues that regulate the legal profession in regards to Barristers.
2)These include Legal services act (2007), Proceeds of crime Act (2002), Money Laundering Regulations, courts and legal services act. These are very important for the analysis of various issues that need to be discussed throughout the essay.
3) Relevant case law is extremely important to analyse various issues. Types of cases to be discussed will include cases where; Barristers has breached confidentiality of the client and what was the consequence of the breach, cases where Barristers had mishandled client money etc.

If the essay is merely descriptive i will not get very many marks to please make sure the essay is as analytical as can be. Give alternative views for every thing that is discussed for the purposes of making analysis

Essay plan( very rough) – there are two parts to the question so will deal will both part separately and deal with how they both conflict i.e. their relationship


In the introduction give brief summary of what issues will be discussed during the essay. Give brief understanding of the quote in reference to BSB code of conduct core duty 2 – you must act in the best interests of your client. So say you will be discussing what ethical duties a barrister owes to his client, mention them is brief such as confidentiality, competent standard of work(both are BSB code of conduct core duties) etc. Then you\’ll say what duties Barrister has to court, BSB code of conduct core duty 1 – you must act in best interests of the court. Then say you will go on discuss how these conflict and which duty comes out on top(that is the duty to the court as a barrister is an officer of the court but don\’t give definitive statement till the conclusion)

Main body – Para 1

Identify using the BSB code of conduct what ethical duties a barrister owes to his client and how those ethical duties are regulated by statute such as legal services act 2007 – those duties include,clients best interest, confidentiality , competent standard of work, not to misuse client money(refer to BSB code of conduct handbook) , State how legal services act regulates that barristers follow these duties

give references to cases as to what happens when client breaches his duties to client(case law is very important for analysis)

main body – para 2

– in this you will discuss extent to which ethical duties to client must be fulfilled

– if for example you are talking about confidentiality you can break in up into duties in regards to civil and criminal cases

criminal cases: Proceeds of crime act 2002 explains when barrister can breach confidentiality – please give a relevant case when discussing this

civil cases: Money laundering regulations act 2007 – when barrister can breach confidentiality/ discuss legal professional privilege in regards to confidentiality of communications between lawyer and client and under what circumstances it can be breached

Legal professional privilege covers 1) advice privilege 2) litigation privilege

discuss to what extent and under which circumstances this privilege can be breached

you can also briefly mention how to deal with customer complaints, as in why customers complain such as, delays in their case, cost of case etc and how Barrister can comply with ethical duty to client by dealing which these complaints

– Also talk about further issue in detail where client thinks his interest is paramount and may not be concerned with public standing of profession(legal profession) where his winning of the case is concerned

main body para 3 – duty to court

here you will discuss duty to court as a prosecuting lawyer

1) where prosecutor realises that the court of the defence has made an error which favours the prosecution

BSB code of conduct: \’ it is the duty of prosecuting council to assist court at the conclusion of the summing up by drawing attention to any apparent omissions of law and fact\’

discuss how the prosecutor is an officer of the court

2) where prosecutor believes certain evidence may have been obtained unfairly

Mention the Criminal prosecute investigations act: disclosure of evidence

– discuss what it says in regards to disclosure of evidence and in terms of duty to court

3) Where the prosecutor enters into plea negotiations despite doubts that the charges can be sustained in court

discuss in regards to English code for crown prosecutors

4) Holding person in custodian remand despite him fulfilling bail criteria

Main body- para 4- now that we have discussed duty to court we will look at conflict between the Barristers duty to Client v Court in terms of defence lawyers

– It is a BSB code of conduct duty that the Barrister should know knowingly or recklessly mislead the court

issues to discuss/ analyse

1) Defending persons believed to guilty – discuss in terms of BSB core duty 2, 8
– discuss duties to court v duties to client – discuss using relevant case law

2) Where advocate believes perjury has been committed

CASE: US V CURTIS(research this case and see what is says about above issues) – refusal to represent client in this case cannot amount to breach of defendants constitutional rights

Give Pannicks view: states that if advocate knows client is amount to commit Perjury, should not call him as a witness

(please refer to this section is more detail using the article i have attached) – this is vital issue in discussing duty to client v duty to court

3) Where a defence lawyer knows an error of law in proceedings which favour defence

discuss the CASE OF : COCKS(1976) – Lord Justin James stated that defending council owes duty to client and does not have to correct judge if judge is wrong – for further analysis discuss in relation to prosecuting lawyer where had to bring the matter to judges attention where he believed there was an error of law of fact that favoured the prosecutions case.

contrasting CASE: EDWARDS (1983) : Lord Justice Robert Goff: defence council had been wrong not to draw judges attention in the summing up of which they were aware


4) Where the defence lawyer knows of a error of fact: discuss in contrast prosecutor duty in this case

defence lawyer can exercise a duty in favour of client in this case where as prosecutor has duty to court


also refer to the article i have attached to give the view of Richard Du Cann

5) Where a lawyer offers advice to a client who wishes to plead guilty

for all 5 of these issues refer to article: but please do additional research for the cases that i have mentioned to give more details and analysis . Also add more cases if necessary


– in conclusion sum up all that you have discussed and give a definite opinion that even though it is a core BSB code of conduct duty to represent clients best interest, as officer of the court you first duty is to the court