Over the last couple of years, the sexual misbehaviour of powerful men has received not only more attention but also more of the condemnation it deserves. Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are only the symbols of a general and very longstanding problem. The issue overlaps with other 'old-fashioned' attitudes to gender and equality which are generally regarded as bad and sometimes reprehensible.
With this new awareness come new challenges for the regulators of professional conduct. How far should regulators aim to reinforce or accelerate social change?
Does all behaviour which could be fairly criticised as morally flawed come under the scrutiny of those charged with maintaining professional ethical standards? Are lawyers to be investigated by sour-faced 21st century puritans opening windows into their souls?
In an article for the New Law Journal, John Gould highlights the importance of the legal profession adhering to appropriate sexual codes of conduct, and how that relates to both retaining public confidence in the legal system and ensuring the trust between a client and their lawyer is not broken.
Misconduct & sexual misbehaviour: blurred lines? is available to read on the New Law Journal via subscription.
John is Senior Partner of Russell-Cooke. His area of particular expertise is regulation and public law. He specialises in the analysis and solution of complex regulatory problems, advising regulators, government departments, law enforcement agencies, charities and statutory and professional bodies.