Ethics as Legal Literacy

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Long title: 
Legal Ethics as Part of Legal Literacy?
Author(s): 
Krupova, Tereza
Author(s)' contact information: 
Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Conference title: 
International Legal Ethics Conference VI
Conference location: 
City University London
Country: 
Czech Republic
Year: 
2014

Teaching law to non-lawyers has been growing over the last years. All agree that having some basic legal knowledge is an immanent part of being educated. The question I would like to raise is what should non-lawyers know about ethics in lawyers work. As a teacher who teaches high-school students as well as university students I am always surprised to see and hear their opinion about lawyers and their behaviour. Sometimes I also use my own experiences as a lawyer to show students the real legal world and they seem to be shocked (especially cases of defending criminals).
In my opinion non-lawyers should be taught not only fundamental legal rules and methods of using norms in their everyday lives. The stress should be put also on what the legal profession is all about. As well as on why some lawyers behave in way which “ordinary” people would describe as unethical.
My paper is based on research using questionnaires among non-lawyers. I focused on non-lawyers’ attitudes to lawyers and their ethics. The basic analysis of lawyers’ ethics presented in media is also part of the paper.
As lawyers we are responsible for the way the society perceives us. Therefore we should be able to describe non-lawyers that the point of our work is ethical although it is not always clear to everyone.

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