In the Contemporary World, the need for professional ethics is increasing. Why the social control over the use of professional skill is required? Explain by choosing an example from any profession. (15 Marks)

Professional ethics assesses the moral dimension of human activity in the occupations of politics, law, medicine, engineering, journalism, management, accountancy and other occupations that aspire to professional status.

  • It is concerned with the standards and moral conduct that govern the profession and its members. More specifically, professional ethics examines issues, problems, and the social responsibility of the profession itself and individual practitioners in the light of philosophical and, in some contexts, religious principles among which are duty and obligation.
  • The practice of specialized expertise and the special moral commitments associated with professional practice differentiate a professional from other occupations.
  • Social control over the use of such knowledge and skills is important because the members of the expert group could use their exclusive expertise solely for their own benefit or even hold society hostage to their expertise. But people, in general, have lack the relevant knowledge and practical training hence the guidelines clearly depicting the moral angle is a must.
  • For example: The lawyer has divided loyalties owing a duty to the court while at the same time owing a duty to the client. On occasions, these duties will be in conflict. In these cases, the lawyer is obliged to fulfill his or her obligations to the court.

This is not generally understood by clients, or by some lawyers who carry the notion of the duty to the client too far and engage in practices that are unethical and that go to defeat the interests of justice.

Examples include deliberately delaying proceedings, perhaps in order to force a settlement from the opposing client who is concerned about increasing costs; or issuing writs without their being any proper legal or factual foundation.

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