ILEX considers legal version of Hippocratic Oath

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

3 March 2010


 

Pledge: would a lawyer’s oath remind lawyers of their responsibilities?

The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) is considering whether to become the first legal body to require newly qualified members to take a ‘lawyer’s oath’ equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath doctors take on qualification.

The ILEX council has considered an introductory paper on the concept of an oath, and there are plans to canvass the views of the membership.

ILEX president Judith Gordon-Nichols said many law societies and bar associations around the world require members to take oaths, while judges, tribunal judges and new QCs already take an oath on appointment.

‘An oath may be a reminder that the business of being a lawyer is a responsible, serious and not always an easy one,’ she said. ‘It reminds the newly admitted lawyer of his/her privileged position as a lawyer and of the lawyer’s commitment to, for example, the rule of law.

‘In the case of legal executives, such an oath could serve to remind the newly admitted lawyer, and even the long-admitted lawyer, of the principles in our Code of Conduct to which we must adhere in our professional lives.

‘It is my belief that on becoming a legal executive, you become a lawyer, not merely a conveyancer or a personal injury specialist or a legal aid practitioner. You become someone who must uphold the rule of law and use the law in a manner consistent with our professional obligations and for the benefit of justice in the widest sense of the word.’

Speaking at the National Pro Bono Conference last November, Law Society chief executive Des Hudson told delegates that he was ‘attracted by the idea of an oath’, taking the form of a declaratory statement of principles at the point of admission. However, Bar Council chief executive David Hobart was concerned that it could be too abstract.

Tags: , ,



Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

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

Legal Futures Blog

Rating lawyers by their wins and losses – a good idea?

Robert Ambrogi

Lawyers will give you any number of reasons why their win-loss rates in court are not accurate reflections of their legal skills. Yet a growing number of companies are evaluating lawyers by this standard – compiling and analysing lawyers’ litigation track records to help consumers and businesses make more-informed hiring decisions. The shortcomings of evaluating lawyers by win rates are many. Not least of them is that so few cases ever make it to a win or loss. Of equal concern is that, in the nuances of law practice, it is not always obvious what constitutes a win or a loss.

February 22nd, 2017