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Legal Profession and Ethics


Disclaimer: This course has been updated to the best of our knowledge at the current time of publishing. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the fluctuating changes in lock down regulations all information contained within this course description are subject to change up to 1 September 2020.
Due to the uncertainty of the Covid 19 virus after 1 September 2020, changes to the course description can only be made in the event of strict necessity and only in the circumstances where the interests of the students are not impinged. Should there be a need for any change during the duration of the course, this will be informed to all students on a timely basis and will not be to the prejudice of students. Modifications after 1 September 2020 may only be done with the approval and consent of the Faculty Board.


This course combines what students have learned about corporate social responsibility and a new topic: the qualities of a good lawyer and the instruments for dealing with ethical issues related to transparency, integrity and access to justice. Students will discover the ethical aspects of the work of corporate lawyers and attorneys when dealing with professional dilemmas and stakeholder issues. Do lawyers need to reflect on the responsibility of their employer or client for the impact of their business decisions? How does this relate to the corporate social responsibility of the law firm?

Topics include international and national standards of the legal profession – given by for example the International Bar Association or the European Bar Association – the distinguishing marks of the constitutional state, fair dealing, fair competition, anti-bribery and corporate social responsibility.

The course Legal profession and ethics aims at strengthening the legal profession by:

  • introducing students to ethical dilemmas corporate lawyers and attorneys may face in the course of their work, stakeholder interests and ways to deal with opposition from their boss, corporate management or client;

  • discussing the qualities of a good lawyer in the field of corporate law and in addition, how international standards such as those drafted by the International Bar Association may provide instruments for dealing with dilemmas in the legal profession and contribute to a level playing field, transparency and integrity;

  • generating an understanding of a professional legal environment that maintains standards of transparency and integrity, which will be of use to the students in their current or future work in the field of corporate law


Programme Coordinator LLM (Adv) International Civil and Commercial Law
Office for International Education / Leiden Law School


Prof AG Castermans, E:
Dr. C.J.W. Baaij, E:


Online: interactive lectures and presentations


Written exam
Written/oral assignments


Full degree in law granting access to the legal profession (or equivalent).