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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Drafting Commercial Agreements

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I Do Solemnly Swear: The Moral Obligations of Legal Officials

ISBN13: 9780521735087
Published: June 2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Paperback
Price: £24.99

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What should the people expect from their legal officials? This book asks whether officials can be moral and still follow the law, answering that the law requires them to do so. It revives the idea of the good official – the good lawyer, the good judge, the good president, the good legislator – that guided Cicero and Washington and that we seem to have forgotten.

Based on stories and law cases from America’s founding to the present, this book examines what is good and right in law and why officials must care. This overview of official duties, from oaths to the law itself, explains how morals and law work together to create freedom and justice, and it provides useful maxims to argue for the right answer in hard cases. Important for scholars but useful for lawyers and readable by anybody, this book explains how American law ought to work.

  • Tells stories from ancient Greece to modern movies to explain the problems of law so the reader understands them
  • Contains useful rules that officials and citizens can understand and argue
  • Explores the real stakes we the people have in officials’ decisions

Jurisprudence, General Interest
1. Law and office
2. The stakes: the interests of others in official actions
3. Officials’ obligations arise from more than the law alone
4. The moral obligations of legal officials
5. Patterns of relationship between legal and moral obligations
6. Breaching duties
7. Tools for the trade: maxims and fallacies.