Illegal Procedure or a Good Hand-Off?
Author: David Siegel
Publication Date: 1992, 2004

What do professionals do when their political masters order them to do something which is in conflict with their professional code of ethics? This is not an unusual situation. In fact, this is exactly what happened to the employees of the legal department of the City ofHamilton in February 1989. It seemed that the proud tradition of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was about to end unless an acceptable deal could be struck and the council ordered the legal department to prepare the necessary contract, but the lawyers felt that the terms of the agreement violated the Municipal Act. What should they do? This is the kind of case which can be used at several levels.It can be used in introductory courses or in more advanced seminars with professionals. It raises issues of professional ethics and council-staff relations.
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