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This article argues for a re-orientation of the debates concerning plea bargaining in the light of a process of re-legitimation currently under way in which professional codes of ethics are given new importance. In the new rhetoric, plea bargaining is claimed to be in line with rather than contrary to traditional adversarial principles. The focus of this paper is to argue for a re-affirmation of deep-seated principles which contextualize professional ethics in the wider domain of the politics of criminal justice.