Law, ethics and social work practice: a critical curriculum

Roche, Jeremy (1997). Law, ethics and social work practice: a critical curriculum. Liverpool Law Review, XIX(2) pp. 121–142.



In this article I consider the relationship between ethics, social work and the law. I do so from a standpoint which sees a number of ethical issues as central to professional social work practice namely a commitment to equality of treatment, to empowering service users and to the principle of accountability. My concern here is twofold: to ask whether there is any connection between the ethical issues underpinning professional practice and the legal framework which seeks to regulate such practice; and second, on the basis that the two are connected, what might this mean for how we think about the law ­ social work relationship? In addressing this question while I focus on the area of children and families much of what I have to say is of general relevance to social work. By way of conclusion I argue that greater familiarity with the debates within traditional jurisprudence would enhance the social work law curriculum and permit a more critical consideration of the role of law in social work practice.

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