PrF:MVD015K Professional Role - Course Information

MVD015K Professional Role and Professional Ethics

Faculty of Law
Spring 2014
Extent and Intensity
0/2. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Mgr. Lucie Atkinsová, LL.M. (seminar tutor)
Bc. Dana Peňázová (assistant)
Mgr. Lucie Atkinsová, LL.M.
Institute of Legal Skills and Innovation of Studies - Faculty of Law
Contact Person: Bc. Martin Pěnčík
Supplier department: Institute of Legal Skills and Innovation of Studies - Faculty of Law
Timetable of Seminar Groups
MVD015K/01: Thu 13. 3. 15:05–16:35 215, 16:40–18:10 215, 18:15–19:45 215, Thu 27. 3. 15:05–16:35 215, 16:40–18:10 215, 18:15–19:45 215, Thu 10. 4. 15:05–16:35 215, 16:40–18:10 215, 18:15–19:45 215, Thu 24. 4. 15:05–16:35 215, 16:40–18:10 215, 18:15–19:45 215, Thu 8. 5. 15:05–16:35 215, 16:40–18:10 215, 18:15–19:45 215, Thu 22. 5. 15:05–16:35 215, 16:40–18:10 215, 18:15–19:45 215, L. Atkinsová
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 25 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/25, only registered: 0/25
Fields of study the course is directly associated with
  • Law (programme PrF, M-PPV)
Course objectives
The ultimate goal of the course is to raise awareness among the students about what tasks lawyers perform for their clients and what role they play in a broader society.
The course does not aspire to describe and explain all the nuances of various legal professions or all ethical problems surrounding the rendering of justice. The course rather presents the students with a closer look at what is the meaning of "professional role" and which ethical rules bind lawyers when assuming this role (of course with the proviso that different legal professions are governed by different ethical rules). The course focuses attention on the issues of professional ethics connected to a duality of the legal counsel's role, namely that of a client's representative and simultaneously that of a defender of justice within the justice system.
Furthermore, the students should explore what expectations are connected to the performance of this role inside the relationship with the client as well as in the context of the broader society (for example, the issue of access to courts and legal representation and availability and willingness of lawyers to serve underrepresented clients). Even more specifically, the students should be made aware of existence of ethical dilemmas. The course should help to create or to strengthen students' capability to spot and handle such dilemmas, or at least to recognize the need to search for a suitable ethical solution.
  • Merely a rough outline of the course can be presented here at this time. Its final shape will be influenced by the needs of the faculty and of the students as it is assumed that this course is interrelated with the externships performed by the students. Therefore, the course will develop and adjust to suggestions of the faculty and the experience and specific needs of the students originating in the externships' performance. It is further assumed that the students will encounter and subsequently turn to the faculty with the ethical problems raised by their respective externships.
  • The draft outline of the course can so far be described as follows:
  • 1. Who can be considered a "good lawyer"? We will be deliberating on the kind of position lawyers occupy in relation to the values respected and promoted by the liberal secular rule-of-law states. What specific tasks are entrusted to lawyers and why do lawyers occupy privileged position in a society?
  • 2. Which origins of problems or which sensitive areas of ethical problems can be discovered based on how the general public views the functioning of the justice system?
  • 3. The term "professional ethics" and a broader context within which this term operates. In other words, why we cannot equate professional ethics with general morality.
  • 4. Main characteristics of the legal counsel profession: independent profession, auto-regulation, international structure; sources of the values of the legal counsel profession and position of ethics among these sources 5. Legal counsel's competency: backbone of competency; ethical aspects of incompetency
  • 6. Devoted service to a client versus promotion of justice and protection of values
  • 8. Confidentiality as an obligation; protection of confidentiality of correspondence; exemptions from attorney-client privilege
  • 9. Legal aid: European and national legal framework; declared or truly rendered service to a society?; ethical aspects
  • 10. Independence, impartiality, and conflict of interest
  • 11. Relationships among legal professions: respect for courts and judges; relationships inside the legal counsel profession (among different legal counsels, among legal counsels and trainees inside a law firm, etc.)
  • 12. Is it worth following ethical principles?
    recommended literature
  • JANOTOVÁ, Helena, Karel SCHELLE and Ilona SCHELLEOVÁ. Profesní etika. Vyd. 1. Praha: Eurolex Bohemia, 2005. 96 s. ISBN 8086861422. info
  • HART, Herbert Lionel Adalphus. Pojem práva. Edited by Jiří Přibáň, Translated by Petr Fantys. V čes. jaz. vyd. 1. Praha: Prostor, 2004. 312 s. ISBN 80-7260-103-2. info
  • KRSKOVÁ, Alexandra. Etika právnického povolania. 1. vyd. Bratislava: Vydavateľské oddelenie Právnickej fakulty Univerzity Komenského, 1994. 129 s. ISBN 80-7160-065-2. info
Teaching methods
Teaching methods contribute to the goal of the highest possible participation of students in the preparation of the selected topics and their high-level engagement in class discussions. In the first lesson, the students are to be divided into several small groups (max. 5 students) and these small groups will be asked to prepare at least one topic for the following lessons. Each small group will therefore assume a role of a "presenter" of the topic. During the preparation time, the group will remain in touch with the lecturer and will consult the prepared presentation. This will guarantee a proper supervision as well as a desirable content of the presentation and of the lesson.
For the purpose of engaging other students in class discussions the lecturer, together with the small group preparing the presentation, will create a list of questions which will be distributed to the other students prior to the lesson. Other students will then be asked to answer these questions within the lesson. This will position the other students into a role of professional peers providing feedback to the presenting group.
It is also possible that the preparating group, or other students in the lesson, will be assigned certain special roles (for example, the role of a disciplinary committee member, the role of a client or his/her legal counsel, the role of a working panel responsible for designing an ethical code). Such roles will influence the task of the presentation group and the content of the presentation.
Assessment methods
50% written form of the presentation of a topic prepared for one of the lessons including incorporated feedback received from the students and from the lecturer
25% preparation of and presentation (in small group) of a topic including communication with the lecturer as well as selection and composition of the list of questions for other students
25% individual active participation in lessons
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course is taught annually.
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2014, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/law/spring2014/MVD015K