Bringing the Law to Life: The only way is ethics

Law webinar 17/04/13: Bringing the Law to Life: The only way is ethics.

So I just took part in my first ever ‘webinar’ focusing on ethics and the way they interact with the law. It really was interesting stuff and I can’t thank the University of Law enough for putting it on.

It got me thinking about a bunch of different scenarios such as the way we judge achievement in society (does a footballer deserve their wages compared to a nurse, or a soldier?), the ethical ramifications surrounding assisted suicide, and the possible benefits of animal testing compared with the likelihood of animal cruelty developing.

As each point began, I found myself re-thinking opinions I thought I was sure of. For instance, while I began feeling that so long as animal testing if for medicinal purposes rather than cosmetic purposes, then the gains outweigh the negatives, however then it was mentioned that no matter how much we know, before testing, could always bring unexpected results which could (and most likely does) lead to animal cruelty. While this has challenged my earlier disposition, I think I still support animal testing given the right conditions. I suppose I’m a bit of a utilitarian; the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

I will most definitely be taking some of the ideas and points to my debating and philosophical discussion groups (and that probably made me sound more pretentious than I intended it to). We have already discussed euthanasia, but animal testing and the wages issue will be very interesting topics.

The subject of confidentiality was also brought up, and whether or not it was right to continue to act for a defendant even if you knew they were guilty. I was surprised that it was a 65/35 split in favour of continuing to defend the defendant; I thought more people would disagree with me and say it was morally wrong to defend someone you know is guilty. I don’t know why, but the argument that if you defend someone you know committed a crime (such as murder) and then succeed in getting them ‘off’ you are then letting a murderer on to the street doesn’t seem to have much actual standing. I think that the clause of confidentiality is one that should be protected, almost beyond all others. An example I used is, my Doctor treats me with complete confidentiality  and I wouldn’t like my Doctor breaking it, so why should a lawyer?

I found the interactivity of the webinar fantastic. I don’t know if anyone has ever taken part in one of these things, but they are brilliant. The ability to respond to incorporate the opinions of people watching is something I hope to see again in the future.
Tom Sykes, you more than likely won’t ever actually read this, but thanks a lot for putting the webinar on in conjunction with the University of Law’s Future Lawyers Network. It really was interesting and, as much as this might appear blasphemy, considerably better than watching a recorded episode of Poirot (as I was at 6:27 when I remembered the webinar started at 6:30).

Genuinely can’t wait until next time!

Post Script:
For those who were wondering what the webinar was like, here is a YouTube link to a video of it.
http://youtu.be/NgDbHK0FkV8

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