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J. R. Lucas

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198235781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198235781.001.0001

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The Responsibilities of Office

The Responsibilities of Office

(p.182) Chapter 9 The Responsibilities of Office


Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the responsibility of officials, judges, and members of the professions. Professions have collective responsibilities not only to their clients and to the community at large, but to potential clients too. There is a standing temptation to restrict entry to the profession by raising the standard required, which provides a Rolls Royce service for those who get it, but means that many go without their Fords. With medical services in particular, one does indeed need to be careful, but medical auxiliaries who are actually available do more for health than highly qualified doctors who are not. A profession needs to take the wider view. So, too, in a different way, lawyers ought to take collective action about the dilatoriness of the law. It is easy for the individual solicitor or barrister to drag his heels when it is in the interests of his client to do so, and pass the buck when his client is suffering from the law's delays, and blame the other side, the courts, or the Inland Revenue. But society suffers. And the legal profession, if it is a profession at all, should take responsibility for identifying and remedying the causes of its failure to serve society properly.

Keywords:   responsibility, professions, professionals, officials, judges

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