Professional Ethics in Legislation and Adjudication in the Constitutional State

  • Friedrich Kübler
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy book series (SEEP)


1. For the definition of the issue, four points of reference or corner points of the proposed topic ought to be addressed:
  1. a)

    Firstly, it concerns a professional code of ethics, i.e. inquiries are made about function specific responsibilities, the rules of which are developed in a particular field of practical activity and are imparted and passed on further mainly through a specific form of professional socialization, for instance a particular training.

  2. b)

    This code of ethics is applied to statutes and law. To deal with this material, a particular professional group has emerged—lawyers. Their origins lie in the late Middle Ages. On the European continent academic training to be a Doctor of Law, doctor iuris, came into being first of all in the law faculties of Upper Italy. The subject of the studies were the rediscovered texts of Roman Law. In the British Isles, the administration of justice was, above all, purely a teaching profession. The young students of law were trained in the practice of law by elder colleagues already in the practice. In the course of time this difference was smoothed away. The modern training of lawyers is composed almost universally of academic theoretical and at the same time of practical elements.

  3. c)

    A third point, though, is that it is not a matter of a lawyers’ universal professional code of ethics. I am asked to deal with the duties, specific to the profession, in the legislative institutions and the application of the law. That implies the further question concerning the difference between these two functions. The difference depends on what we understand the law to be. I shall come back to this point in a moment.

  4. d)

    Finally, our deliberations ought to hold true only for the relationships in a constitutional State governed by law. By accepting that, the theme becomes historically restricted. The constitutional State governed by law is a product of Europe’s modern age. It is based on the idea that all secular power is subject to the law. Thus the law becomes the definitive authority of modern societies. Wherever the rule of the constitutional State governed by law is accepted, social conflicts are basically to be mediated according to the rules of the law.



Professional Ethic Professional Code Professional Socialization Legislative Procedure Legal Organisation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin • Heidelberg 1999

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  • Friedrich Kübler

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