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Legal Profession and Ethics


Disclaimer: Should there be any future extenuating circumstances which may impinge our teaching and assessment, these could necessitate modification of the course descriptions after 1 September. This will only happen in the event of strict necessity and the interests of the students will be taken into account. Should there be a need for any change during the course, this will be informed to all students on a timely basis. Modifications after 1 September 2023 may only be done with the approval and consent of the Faculty Board and Programme Director.


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 and their law firms need to reflect on the responsibility of their clients 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 lawyers and their law firms may face in the course of their work, stakeholder interests and ways to deal with opposition from clients, partners in the law firm, the law-association or the government;

  • 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:


Interactive lectures and presentations (combined with online components if necessary).


Written exam (60%)
Written/oral assignments (40%)

The overall course grade should be at least 5,5 in order to complete the course successfully.
There will be one oral retake (100%) substituting all previous assessments.


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