Dr Marcin Pieniążek
Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Kraków University
Abstract: Codes of legal ethics encounter constant waves of criticism. It is pointed out that their disadvantage is, on the one hand, the excessive casuistry, limiting the possibility of taking independent decisions in cases of ethical and professional conflicts, and, on the other hand, the exaggerated declarative character of perfectionist ethical and professional virtues. The gap between the abovementioned perspectives, easily perceived in such codes, results in a dysfunctionality of professional ethics in the actions undertaken by members of the legal profession. The article, apart from the critical-comparative part, includes a proposal of reading and interpreting the content of the codes in a way that transgresses the above opposition. The theoretical basis of the presented position is provided by the concept of “little ethics” formulated by Paul Ricoeur in his work Oneself as Another. The ethical theory developed by Ricoeur combines the elements of Aristotelian ethics of virtues with Kantian ethics of duty. For this reason, it sets a uniform perspective for opposing elements, namely: subordination to the norm of the code and pursuit of ethical and professional self-improvement by legal professionals. The proposed solution belongs to the “reflexive” paradigm of the lawyer’s professional ethics proposed on the basis of Ricoeur’s onto-ethical theory.
Keywords: legal ethics, codification, reflexivity, Paul Ricoeur, teleological ethics, deontological ethics, “little ethics”
Published: Number 2(13)/2016, pp. 39-50.
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