Former Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox has declined to take over as chief of the state's ethics panel but will advise Gov. Michael S. Dukakis on a number of ethics issue.

Cox, a Harvard Law School professor and chairman of the citizens group Common Cause, said he turned down the top post at the State Ethics Commission because of time restraints."I have had some discussions with the governor's office about some ethical questions - long-range, looking-ahead stuff," Cox said in The Boston Sunday Globe.

Among the areas Cox, 77, is said to be reviewing for the governor are disclosure requirements for those seeking state and local approval for development projects and rules governing outside income for public employees.