ST: It’s a hot topic at the moment, but for us as barristers, we have quite a clear ethical code which is “everyone deserves representation”. The English Bar has something called the ‘cab-rank rule’, that is rather like a taxi. You have to take the first person that comes along. If you start judging your clients, you are actually usurping the role of first, the prosecution authorities, and then secondly, the judge. You’re becoming lawyer, judge and jury.
Our job is to represent our clients to the best of our abilities, within our ethical code. Obviously, we do not participate or allow any wrongdoing, but we necessarily will represent people that have committed criminal or civil wrongs. In that sense, we have to do so without fear or favour, and without judging our clients. Equally though, the other side of the coin is that we should not be associated with the cause of our clients. So, we have to retain a professional independence from our clients. Those two things complement each other and they’re good for the rule of law, they’re good for the efficiency of the justice system.