Concept

Adverse authority

Résumé
Adverse authority or adverse controlling authority, in United States law, is some controlling authority based on a legal decision and opposed to the position of an attorney in a case before the court. The attorney is under an ethical obligation to disclose that legal decision, which is an adverse authority, to the court. This obligation is set forth in the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct, §3.3. Basis for the disclosure requirement The obligation to disclose adverse authority is in tension with the attorney's obligation to zealously represent the interests of the client. However, various public policy arguments have been set forth to explain why the attorney's duty of candor to the court with respect to such authority outweighs the duty to the client's cause. Ostensibly, the reason is to serve the law itself by preventing a court from making a decision that is erroneous in light of the authority revealed. As a practical matter, an attorney who di
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