What is the Right Thing to Do?: Reflections on the AWB Scandal and Legal Ethics
SANCTIONS, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND GOVERNANCE IN A GLOBALISED WORLD, Jeremy Farrall & Kim Rubenstein, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2009
23 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2010
Date Written: 2009
The Cole Inquiry resulted in a five volume report that extensively details the history of AWB Ltd’s dealings with Iraq under the Oil-for-Food Programme (OFFP). In this chapter, I reflect on the role AWB in-house lawyers played in the AWB-Iraq story, exploring how lawyers who are too closely identified with the perceived interests of the client can step over the ethical (even if not the criminal) line, and work against both the client’s best interests and the public interest. I reflect also on the AWB lawyers’ role as counsel for a corporation whose actions had global ramifications. Legal practice today has global reach and I discuss the implications of this for our professional ethical horizons.
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