Method in legal-ethical reasoning, the criminal lawyer's conscience, the client and the court

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Brennan, Sean Campbell
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A legal-ethical dilemma occurs when two legal duties conflict or, in the alternative, when a legal duty conflicts with a moral duty. Such dilemmas are inherent in the current regime for lawyers governing legal ethics in Manitoba. The problem is how best to resolve these dilemmas. In solving this problem, the secondary literature provides the theoretical framework. Four writers exemplify four different models of the adversarial system, the lawyer-client relationship and the context of criminal defence. The framework gleaned from the secondary literature is then used to analyse the primary sources of legal ethics in the Province of Manitoba. The Manitoba Law Society Act and Code of Professional Conduct are researched to their historical origins. The current Code of Conduct is compared with not only its antecedent but also its correlatives in other Canadian jurisdictions. The conclusion reached is that legal-ethical dilemmas are best resolved by lawyers with reference to common morality. Lawyers are to be heldpublicly accountable for decisions made and results obtained in their course of representing a client. To facilitate the transition to this method in legal-ethical reasoning there will have to be legislative and regulatory changes.