LSJ Article - Ethical dilemmas and the Banking Royal Commission

A pleasure to share my thoughts in an interview with Hannah Wootton on the lessons learnt for legal professionals from the banking royal commission.

Discussion about regulatory capture emerged in several rounds of the Commission evidence. I suggest in this interview that in-house legal professionals can be captured by their corporate employers and become caught up in business interests rather than to the court. It’s an interesting to think about how internal professionals uphold their own ethics with what’s known as the Abilene Paradox - where a group of people collectively decided to do something, but where a member feels they are acting inconsistently with their own values and ethics. It’s a problem of group conflict management and it’s different to group think where everyone things the decision is good. In the Abilene Paradox, an individual might not be comfortable, but agrees to do something anyway.

Inhouse legal teams have been expanding with very good outcomes for both the corporations and legal professionals, however as suggested in this article we need to give new focus to the ethics of in-house legal and avoid the problems that the royal commission into financial services has highlighted.

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