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An Essay on Professional Ethics
Second Edition

written by "Sharswood, George, 1810-1883"
...akes this course in all cases imperative. The losing party, if the jury were allowed to decide the law for him, would be deprived of his exception, and of his unquestionable right to have the law of his case pronounced upon by the Supreme Court. Ad questiones juris respondeant judices,—ad questiones facti juratores. A disregard by the jury of the law, as laid down by the judge, is always therefore followed by additional and unnecessary delay and expense, and it is never an advantage to a party in the long run to obtain a verdict in opposition to the direction of the court.[7] It is best for[Pg 17] counsel to say in such cases, where nothing is left by the charge to the jury, that they do not[Pg 18] ask for a verdict. It has a fair, candid, and manly aspect towards court, jury, opposite party, and even client. Instances of counsel urging or endeavoring to persuade a jury to disregard the charge may sometimes occur, but they are exceedingly rare when there is good feeling between the Bench and the Bar, and when the members of the profession have just and enlightened views of their duty as well as interest. It need hardly be added that a practitioner ought to be particularly cautious, in all his dealings with the court, to use no deceit, imposition, or evasion—to make no statements of facts which he does not know or believe to be true—to distinguish carefully what lies in his own knowledge from what he has merely derived from his instructions—to present no paper-books intentionally garbled. "Sir Matthew Hale abhorred," says his biographer, "those too common[Pg 19] faults of misrepresenting evidence, quoting precedents or books falsely, or asserting anything confidently by which ignorant juries and weak judges are too often wrought upon."[8] One such false step in a young lawyer will do him an injury in the opinion of the Bench and of his professional brethren, which it will take years to redeem, if inde...

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