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The legal professions’ new handbooks: narratives, standards and values

Boon, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-1494-4005 (2016). The legal professions’ new handbooks: narratives, standards and values. Legal Ethics, 19(2), pp. 207-233. doi: 10.1080/1460728x.2016.1209811


This article analyses the regulatory handbooks produced by the new regulators for solicitors and barristers, the main legal professions in England and Wales, following the Legal Services Act 2007. It focuses on the new codes of conduct and the 10 high-level regulatory standards that are a feature of each handbook. The article examines the ways in which key interests have been dealt with in the handbooks from the perspective of the historical narratives of the legal professions and their publications, including their previous codes of conduct. It is found that the barristers’ and solicitors’ codes project different ethical orientations towards the supposedly universal ‘standard conception of the lawyer’s role’ based on the principles of neutrality and partisanship. The origins, meaning and significance of the high-level standards are considered. They are found not to reflect the content of the codes of conduct or to communicate cherished elements of the professions’ historical narratives. It is argued that this is problematic in terms of the professional functions of regulation, education and communication.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Legal Ethics on 29 Jul 2016, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Regulatory handbooks, codes of conduct, standard conception, regulatory standards, rule of law
Subjects: K Law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
Text - Accepted Version
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