As to the future, McPherson referenced the cab rank rule
, whereby barristers are required to accept, if their diary is free and the fee appropriate, any case they are asked to that meets their code of conduct.
The independence of the bar is supported in large part by the 'cab rank rule', which, in 1999, Lord Irvine (then Lord Chancellor) described as 'one of the glories of the Bar.
Of course, the cab rank rule is subject to exceptions and, therefore, may be circumvented, perhaps too easily.
But last night a spokeswoman for Matrix said: "Mrs Booth took on the case under the cab rank rule
" - meaning it was the next available case and fell to her only by chance.
(36) The fact that Australian lawyers routinely take on these sorts of cases may be a reflection of the ascendancy of the cab rank rule in Australian lawyers' ethics, but it might also reflect something deeper: an institutional ethos rather than a formal requirement.
This project was partially inspired by my curiosity about the impact of the cab rank rule on Australian lawyers, and how such a rule might operate in the US.
One barrister who works as a public defender tipped her hat to the cab rank rule, but said her commitment to representing the unpopular went beyond such a rule:
The cab rank rule coincides with my own view of [the] professional role, and I have never sought to evade it....
I don't think consciously about the cab rank rule....
Yet another said that if you believe in everyone having a right to a fair trial, you should not refuse cases, whether the cab rank rule applies or not:
English banisters claim to follow a "cab rank rule."(1) If they are to be believed (the rule seems rather sieve-like),(2) a barrister feels bound to accept any client who seeks legal services.
Is there a cab rank rule enforced against American lawyers?