Doing your duty

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

12 May 2010


Jury: should you instruct a barrister you don't want to look better in court?

Q. I am acting for a client who has been charged with rape. I was proposing to instruct our usual barrister, a man with a great deal of experience. However, the client is insisting that we instruct a woman since he thinks that will play better with the jury. Am I obliged to accept this instruction?

A. As a general rule, you must comply with your client’s instructions unless to do so would involve you in a breach of the law or a breach of the rules of professional conduct (see rule 2.01 of the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007).

If you refer to rule 6.01 of the code, you will see that you must not, in your professional dealings with others (which includes other lawyers), discriminate against them on various grounds, which includes discrimination on the grounds of their sex. You should explain to your client why you cannot comply with this instruction, but if he refuses to change it, you will have to cease acting.  See rule 6, guidance notes 15 & 16.



Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

Be careful you do not leave anything behind: will we see the end of chambers?

Charles Feeny

Experience of practice by digital support suggests that working practices will become much more informal and spontaneous, not requiring support by specific entities or even contractual arrangements. This is likely to be particularly true of the Bar, which is or should be a profession focusing on individuals. The future of the Bar is more likely to resemble a library as seen in Scotland and Ireland – albeit an electronic library – rather than the traditional chambers structure.

January 18th, 2017