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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL

RESPONSIBILITY

LEGAL ETHICS

T HE C ODE OF
P ROFESSIONAL R ESPONSIBILITY

Canon 16
Canon 17
Canon 18

HISTORY

Canon 19

1917: Adoption by the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) of


Canons 1 to 32 of Canons of Professional Ethics of the
American Bar Association (ABA)

Canon 20

1946: Adoption by PBA of Canons 33 to 47

Canon 22

1979: Drafting by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines of a


proposed Code of Professional Responsibility
June 21, 1988: Promulgation by the Supreme Court of the
Code of Professional Responsibility
OUTLINE
CHAPTER I: The Lawyer and Society
Canon 1
Duty to Uphold the Constitution and the
Laws
Canon 2
Duty to be an Efficient Lawyer
Canon 3
Duty
of
Honest
and
Dignified
Pronouncement of Legal Service
Canon 4
Duty to Support the Improvement of the
Legal System
Canon 5
Duty to Keep Abreast of Legal
Developments
Canon 6
The Canons Apply to Lawyers in
Government Service
CHAPTER II: The Lawyer and the Legal Profession
Canon 7
Duty to Uphold the Dignity of the Legal
Profession
Canon 8
Duty of Professional Courtesy
Canon 9
Duty to Shun Unauthorized
Practice of
Law
CHAPTER III: The Lawyer and the Courts
Canon 10 Duty of Candor, Fairness, and Good Faith
to the Courts
Canon 11 Duty to Give Respect to the Courts
Canon 12 Duty to Assist in the Speedy and Efficient
Administration of Justice
Canon 13 Duty Not to Influence Judges
CHAPTER IV: The Lawyer and the Client
Canon 14 Duty to Render Legal Service to the Needy
Canon 15 Duty of Candor, Fairness, and Loyalty to the
Client

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Canon 21

Duty to be a Trustee of Clients Moneys and


Properties
Duty of Fidelity to the Cause of the Client
Duty to Serve with Competence and Due
Diligence
Duty to Serve Only Within the Bounds of
Law
Duty to Charge Only Fair and Reasonable
Fees
Duty to Preserve the Clients Confidence
and Secrets
Duty to Withdraw Services Only for Good
Cause and upon Notice

Note: The Code of Professional Responsibility does not


cease to apply to a lawyer simply because he has joined
the government service. Where a lawyers misconduct as
a government official is of such nature as to affect his
qualification as a lawyer or to show moral delinquency,
then he may be disciplined as a member of the bar on
such grounds (Martin Lahn III and James P. Concepcion
vs. Labor Arbiter Jovencio Li. Mayor, Jr., A.C. No. 7430,
February 15, 2012).

C HAPTER 1: T HE L AWYER
AND THE S OCIETY
CANON 1: A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE
CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND
PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW OF AND LEGAL
PROCESSES.
1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
Unlawful conduct
Transgression of any provision of law, which need not be
a penal law. The presence of evil intent on the part of the
lawyer is not essential in order to bring his act or omission
within the terms of this Rule (Re: Report on the Financial
Audit Conducted on the Books of Accounts of Atty. Raquel
Kho, AM No. P-06-2177).
Dishonest act
An act of lying or cheating (Alsup v. State, 91 Tex. Crim.
R. 224, 1922).
Immoral or deceitful conduct:
Involves moral turpitude (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial
Ethics, 2009, p. 72).

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Examples of crimes involving moral turpitude: estafa,
bribery, murder, seduction, abduction, concubinage,
smuggling, falsification of public document, violation of
B.P 22 (Pineda, Legal Ethics, 2009, p.51).
Degree of immorality subject to disciplinary action:
Gross immorality and not mere immorality is sanctioned
(Funa, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.21).
Gross immorality is conduct which is so corrupt and
false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or
disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree
(Reyes vs. Wong, 63 SCRA 667).
Immoral conduct
Is a conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and
which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the
good and respectable members of the community (Arciga
v. Maniwang, A.M. No. 1608 August 14, 1981).
Grossly Immoral Acts
Abandonment of family
and cohabiting with
another woman(Narag
v. Narag, A.C. No. 3405,
June 29, 1998).
A lawyer who had carnal
knowledge with a
woman through a
promise of marriage
which he did not fulfill
(Quingwa v. Puno,
A.C.No. 389, February
28, 1967).
Seduction of a woman
who is the niece of a
married woman with
whom the respondent
lawyer had adulterous
relations (Royong v.
Oblena, A.C. No. 376,
April 30, 1963).
Lawyer arranging the
marriage of his son to a
woman with whom the
lawyer had illicit
relations. After the

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Corresponding
Penalty
DISBARRED

DISBARRED

DISBARRED

DISBARRED

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LEGAL ETHICS

Moral turpitude:
It is an act of baseness, vileness or depravity in the duties
which one person owes to another or to society in general
which is contrary to the usually accepted and customary
rule of right and duty which a person should follow.

marriage of the woman


to the respondents son,
he continued his
adulterous relations with
her (Mortel v. Aspiras,
G.R. No. L-9152,
December 28, 1956).
Lawyer inveigling a
woman into believing
that they had been
married civilly to satisfy
his carnal desires
(Cabrera v. Agustin,
G.R. No. L-225,
September 30, 1959).

DISBARRED

DISBARRED
Lawyer taking
advantage of his
position as chairman of
the college of medicine
and asked a lady
student to go with him to
Manila where he had
carnal knowledge of her
under threat that if she
refused, she would flunk
in all her subjects
(Delos Reyes v. Aznar,
A.M. No. 1334,
November 28, 1989).
Bigamy committed by
the lawyer (Villasanta v.
Peralta, 101 Phil. 315).
Concubinage coupled
with failure to support
illegitimate children
(Laguitan v. Tino, A.M.
No. 3049, December 4,
1989).
Adultery committed by
the lawyer (Sevilla v.
Cardenas, G.R. No.
167684, July 31, 2006)
Facilitating another
persons travel using
spurious travel
documents (Sebastian
v. Calis, A.C. No. 5118,
September 9, 1999)
Selling real property
which is part of public
domain (Cham v.
Pizarro, A.C. No. 5499,
August 16, 2005).

DISBARRED
SUSPENDED
INDEFINITELY

SUSPENDED
INDEFINITELY
DISBARRED

SUSPENDED FOR
1 YEAR

LEGAL ETHICS
Gross immorality need not be committed under
scandalous circumstances and need not be punishable by
law (Funa, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.27)
Acts which DO NOT constitute gross immorality:
1. Stealing a kiss from a client (Advincula v. Macabata,
A.C. No. 7204, March 7, 2007);
2. Live-in relationship involving two unmarried persons;
3. Failure to pay a loan
General rule: A lawyer may not be disciplined for failure
to pay a loan. The proper remedy is the filing of an
action for collection of a sum of money in regular courts
(Toledo v. Abalos, 315 SCRA 419, 1999).
Exception: deliberate failure to pay just debts and the
issuance of worthless checks (Lao v. Medel, A.C. No.
5916, July 1, 2003).
Just debts:
Include unpaid rentals, electric bills, claims adjudicated by
a court of law, and claims the existence and justness of
which are admitted by the debtor (Cham v. Paita-Moya,
A.C. No. 7494, June 27, 2008).
Having incurred just debts, a lawyer has the moral duty
and legal responsibility to settle them when they become
due. He should comply with his just contractual
obligations, act fairly and adhere to high ethical standards
to preserve the courts integrity, since he is an employee
thereof (Cham v. Paita-Moya, supra).
Plenary pardon does not itself warrant reinstatement,
evidence of reformation must first be present (In re:
Vailoces, 1992).
Note on plagiarism: The rule exonerating judges from
charges of plagiarism applies also to lawyers. Although as
a rule they receive compensation for every pleading or
paper they file in court or for every opinion they render to
clients, lawyers also need to strive for technical accuracy
in their writings. They should not be exposed to charges
of plagiarism in what they write so long as they do not
depart, as officers of the court, from the objective of
assisting the Court in the administration of justice (In
matter of the charges of plagiarism, etc. against Associate
Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo, A.M. No. 10-7-17SC. February 8, 2011).
Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet
activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening
confidence in the legal system.
A lawyer should not promote nor hold an organization
known to be violating the law nor assist it in a scheme
which is dishonest. He should not allow his services to be

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
engaged by an organization whose members are violating
the law and defend them should they get caught.
Rule 1.03 - A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive
or interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or delay
any man's cause.
A lawyer owes to society and to the court the duty not to
stir up litigation.
Maintenance
It is the intermeddling of an uninterested party to
encourage a lawsuit. It is a taking in hand, a bearing up or
upholding of quarrels or sides, to the disturbance of the
common right (Funa, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.
45).
Rationale: to prevent barratry and ambulance chasing
Barratry
It is the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up
quarrels and suits, either at law or otherwise (Blacks Law
Dictionary, 5th ed., citing State vs. Batson N.C. 4121). The
person who engages in barratry is called a barretor or
barrater.
Ambulance Chasing
A solicitation of almost any kind of legal business by
laymen employed by an attorney for the purpose or by the
attorney himself
It is a lawyers act of chasing an ambulance carrying the
victim of an accident for the purpose of talking to said
victim or relatives and offering his legal services for filing
of a case against the person who caused the accident. It
has spawned a number of recognized evils such as
(FSMD):
1. Fomenting of litigation with resulting burdens on the
courts and the public;
2. Subornation of perjury;
3. Mulcting of innocent persons by judgments, upon
manufactured causes of action; and
4. Defrauding of injured persons having proper causes of
action but ignorant of legal rights and court procedures
by means of contracts which retain exorbitant
percentages of recovery and illegal charges for court
costs and expenses and by settlement made for quick
returns of fees and against the just rights of the injured
persons (Hightower v. Detroit Edison Co. 247 NW 97,
1993).
Note: Volunteering advice to bring lawsuit comes within
the prohibition, except where ties of blood, relationship,
and trust make it a duty to do so (Canon 28, Canons of
Professional Ethics).

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
An attorney should be a mediator for concord and a
conciliator for compromise and not an instigator of
controversy and a predator of conflict. (Castaneda v. Ago,
65 SCRA 505, 1975)
A lawyer cannot, without special authority, compromise his
clients litigation or receive anything in discharge of the
clients claim but the full amount in cash. A compromise
entered into without authority is merely unenforceable.
HOWEVER, a lawyer has the exclusive management of
the procedural aspect of the litigation including the
enforcement of rights and remedies of the client
(Melendrez vs. Decena, 176 SCRA 662, 1989).
Note: This rule does not extend to instances where a fair
settlement is not possible as an option (Funa, Legal and
Judicial Ethics, p.47).
The following mandates the parties to consider the possibility
of amicable settlement:
1. Sec. 2, Rule 18 on Pre-trial;
2. The Local Government Code (Barangay Conciliation
Proceedings); and
3. Judicial Dispute Resolution.
CANON 2: A LAWYER SHALL MAKE HIS LEGAL
SERVICES AVAILABLE IN AN EFFICIENT AND
CONVENIENT MANNER COMPATIBLE WITH THE
INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY AND EFFECTIVENESS
OF THE PROFESSION.
Rule 2.01 - A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid
reasons, the cause of the defenseless or the
oppressed.
Rationale: It is the lawyers prime duty to see to it that
justice is accorded to all without discrimination.
Defenseless
Those who are not in a position to defend themselves due
to poverty, weakness, ignorance or other similar reasons
Oppressed
The victims of cruelty, unlawful exaction, domination or
excessive use of authority

LEGAL ETHICS

Rule 1.04 - A lawyer shall encourage his clients to


avoid, end or settle a controversy if it will admit of a
fair settlement.

The general rule, made clear by the phrase shall not


reject, is that the lawyer is mandated to serve these
marginalized citizens.
Legal aid is not a matter of charity, but a public
responsibility
It is a means for the correction of social imbalance that
may and often do lead to injustice, for which reason it is
the public responsibility of the Bar (Sec. 1 Art. 1 IBP
Handbook).
A lawyer should decline professional employment
regardless of how attractive the fee offered may be if its
acceptance will involve:
1. A violation of any of the rules of the legal profession;
2. Nullification of a contract which he prepared;
3. Advocacy in any matter in which he had intervened
while in the government service;
4. Employment, the nature of which might easily be used
as a means of advertising his professional services or
his skill;
5. Employment with a collection agency, which solicits
business to collect claims; and
Any matter in which he knows or has reason to believe
that he or his partner will be an essential witness for the
prospective client.
Rule 2.02 - In such cases, even if the lawyer does not
accept a case, he shall not refuse to render legal
advice to the person concerned if only to the extent
necessary to safeguard the latter's rights.
If only to the extent necessary to safeguard the
latters right
This means advising a person on what preliminary steps
to take until he has secured the services of counsel.
HOWEVER, he shall refrain from giving such preliminary
advice if there is conflict of interest between him and a
prospective client or between a present client and a
prospective one. Extending such legal advice will create
and establish an attorney-client relationship between them
and may violate the rule prohibiting a lawyer from
representing conflicting interest (Agpalo, Legal and
Judicial Ethics, p.78-79).
Rule 2.03 A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done
any act designated primarily to solicit legal business.
The rule prohibits professional touting.
The following are the reasons why the rules prohibit
solicitation:
1. The profession is primarily for public service;
2. Commercializes the profession;

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LEGAL ETHICS
3. Involves self-praise and puffing;
4. Damages public confidence; and
5. May increase lawsuits and result in needless litigation.
Practice of law vs. business
1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument is a byproduct, and which one my attain the highest eminence
without making much money;
2. A relation as an officer of the court to the
administration of justice involving thorough sincerity,
integrity and reliability
3. A relation to the clients in the highest degree of
fiduciary;
4. A relation to colleagues characterized by candor,
fairness and unwillingness to resort to current business
methods of advertising and encroachment on their
practice or dealing directly with their clients (In re Sycip,
July 30, 1979)
The best advertisement for a lawyer is a well-deserved
reputation for competence, honesty and fidelity to
private trust and public duty.
Example: A lawyer who recommends employment of
himself, his partner, associate, or member of his legal
staff to a non-lawyer who has not sought his advice
regarding the employment of himself (Agpalo, Legal
and Judicial Ethics, p. 117).
Rule 2.04 - A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than
those
customarily
prescribed
unless
the
circumstances so warrant.
Rationale: To avoid any demeaning and degrading
competition
Exceptions: Valid justifications such as when the client is
a relative or a brother lawyer or is too poor that it would be
inhumane to charge him even the customary rates of
attorneys fees.
Note: What the rule prohibits is competition in the matter
of charging professional fees for the purpose of attracting
clients in favor of the lawyer who offers lower rates. The
rule does not prohibit a lawyer from charging a reduced
fee or none at all to an indigent (Comments of the IBP
Committee).
Some IBP Chapters in the country have approved
Schedules of Attorneys Fees providing specific guidelines
in the fixing of attorneys fees for legal services, including
but not limited to consultation, documentation,
notarization, pleading, research, trial work, appearance
fees, acceptance fees, retainers and similar others. Other
Chapters, while they do not have such Schedules, have

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
followed and are still following a long standing local
custom or tradition on the amounts of attorneys fees for
their legal services (Pineda, Legal and Judicial Ethics,
2009, p. 83).
CANON 3: A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS LEGAL
SERVICES SHALL USE ONLY TRUE, HONEST, FAIR,
DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE INFORMATION OR
STATEMENT OF FACTS.
Rationale: Legal services, unlike other personal services
rendered by other professionals or skilled workers require
a certain degree of dignity to be maintained (Funa, Legal
and Judicial Ethics, p.62).
Advertising and solicitation
Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of
any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive,
undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or
claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.
General rule: A lawyer cannot advertise his talent as a
shopkeeper advertises his wares as he is a member of an
honorable profession whose primary purpose is to render
public service and help secure justice and in which the
remuneration is a mere incident.
Rationale:
1. The profession is primarily for public service;
2. Commercializes the profession;
3. Involves self-praise and puffing;
4. Damages public confidence; and
5. May increase lawsuits and result in needless litigation.
Exceptions:
1. Writing legal articles;
2. Engaging in business or other occupations except when
such could be deemed improper, be seen as indirect
solicitation or would be the equivalent of law practice;
3.
Publication in reputable law lists, but only of brief
biographical and informative data;
The reputable law list must be published primarily for
that purpose. It cannot be a mere supplement of a
magazine or journal (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics,
2009, p.121).
4. Use of ordinary an professional cards;
5. Notice to other local lawyers and publishing in a legal
journal of ones availability to act as an associate for
them;
6. The proffer of free legal services to the indigent, even
when broadcasted over the radio or tendered through
circulation of printed matter to the general public;

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
The professional card may contain only a statement of his
name, the name of the law firm of which he is connected
with, address, telephone number and special branch of
law practices (A.B.A. Op. 11, May 11, 1927).
Solicitation of cases constitutes malpractice. The law
prohibits lawyers from soliciting cases for the purpose of
gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers,
and makes the act malpractice (Rule 138, Sec. 27, Rules
of Court).
A lawyer who agrees with a non-lawyer to divide attorneys
fees paid by clients supplied or solicited by the non-lawyer
is guilty of malpractice, the same being a form of
solicitation of cases(Tan Tek Beng vs. David, 126 SCRA
389, 1983).
Use of law firm Name
Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false,
misleading or assumed name shall be used. The
continued use of the name of a deceased partner is
permissible provided that the firm indicates in all its
communications that said partner is deceased.
Use of a deceased partners name
The reason for allowing the continued use of the name of
a deceased partner is that all of the partners, by their joint
efforts, contributed to the goodwill attached to the firm
name. This goodwill is disturbed by a change in the firm
name every time a partner dies (Agpalo, 2009, p. 129).
The use of a cross after the name of the deceased partner
is sufficient indication. It is advisable that the year of death
be also indicated (Pineda, Legal Ethics, 2009, p.87).
No name not belonging to any of the partners or
associates may be used in the firm name for any purpose.
Use of a foreign law firm name
Filipino lawyers cannot practice law under the name of a
foreign law firm, as the latter cannot practice law in the

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LEGAL ETHICS

7. Seeking a public office, which can only be held by a


lawyer or, in a dignified manner, a position as a full time
corporate counsel;
8. Simple announcement of the opening of a law firm or of
changes in the partnership, associates, firm name or
office address, being for the convenience of the
profession;
9. Listing in a phone directory, but not under a designation
of a special branch of law; and
10.Activity of an association for the purpose of legal
representation.

Philippines and the use of the foreign law firm in the


country is unethical (Dacanay v. Baker & McKenzie, A.C.
No. 2131, May 1985).
Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he
shall withdraw from the firm and his name shall be
dropped from the firm name unless the law allows him
to practice law currently.
Rationale: To prevent the law firm or partners from
making use of the name of the public official to attract
business and to avoid suspicion of undue influence
(See discussion on Practice of Law by Public Officials,
supra.)
Rule 3.04 A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of
value to representatives of the mass media in
anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract
legal business.
Rationale: To prevent some lawyers from gaining an
unfair advantage over others thru the use of gimmickry,
press agentry, or other artificial means (Agpalo, Legal and
Judicial Ethics, 2009, p. 131).
Note: The lawyer is not required to decline genuine media
attention to advocacies which have generated public
interest. In some instances, his advocacy needs the
indispensable participation of media, such as the
advocacy to expose government corruption (Funa, Legal
and Judicial Ethics, 2009, 75).
CANON 4: A LAWYER SHALL PARTICIPATE IN THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM BY
INITIATING OR SUPPORTING EFFORTS IN LAW
REFORM AND IN THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
CANON 5: A LAWYER SHALL KEEP ABREAST OF
LEGAL
DEVELOPMENTS,
PARTICIPATE
IN
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS,
SUPPORT EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE HIGH STANDARDS
IN LAW SCHOOLS AS WELL AS IN THE PRACTICAL
TRAINING OF LAW STUDENTS AND ASSIST IN
DISSEMINATING THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE.
This duty carries with it the obligation to be well informed
of the existing laws and to keep abreast with legal
developments, recent enactment and jurisprudence.
Unless they faithfully comply with such duty they may not
be able to discharge competently and diligently their
obligations as members of the Bar. Worse, they may
become susceptible to committing mistakes (Dulalai Jr. v.

LEGAL ETHICS
Cruz A.C. No. 6854, April 27, 2007, citing Santiago v.
Rafanan).
Three-fold obligation of a lawyer concerning the
requirement of continuing legal education:
1.
He owes it to himself to continue improving his
knowledge of the law.
2.
He owes it to his profession to take an active
interest in the maintenance of high standards of legal
education.
3.
He owes it to the lay public to make the law a
part of their social consciousness.
Rules on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
(MCLE) for Members of the IBP (Bar Matter no. 850)
Purpose: To ensure that throughout their career, they
keep abreast with law and jurisprudence, maintain the
ethics of the profession and enhance the standards of the
practice of law (Sec, 1, Rule 1, Rules on MCLE).
Requirements of completion of MCLE
Members of the IBP, unless exempted under Rule 7, shall
complete every three (3) years at least 36 hours of
continuing legal education activities.
Parties EXEMPTED from the MCLE:
1. The President, Vice-President, and the Secretaries and
Undersecretaries of executive departments;
2. Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives;
3. The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the SC,
incumbent and retired justices of the judiciary,
incumbent members of the Judicial and Bar Council and
incumbent court lawyers covered by the Philippine
Judicial Academy Program of Continuing Legal
Education;
4. The Chief State Counsel, Chief State Prosecutor and
Assistant Secretaries of the Department of Justice;
5. The Solicitor-General and the Assistant SolicitorsGeneral;
6. The Government Corporate Counsel, Deputy and
Assistant Government Corporate Counsel;
7. The Chairman and Members of the Constitutional
Commissions;
8. The Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy Ombudsman, the
Deputy Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor of the
Office of the Ombudsman;
9. Heads of government agencies exercising quasi-judicial
functions;
10.Incumbent deans, bar reviewers and professors of law
who have teaching experience for at least 10 years in
accredited law schools;

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
11. The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and members of the
Corps of Professional Lecturers of the Philippine
Judicial Academy; and
12.Governors and Mayors.
Other exempted parties:
1. Those who are not in law practice, private or public; and
2. Those who have retired from law practice with the
approval of the IBP Board of Governors.
Application for exemption from or modification of the
MCLE requirement
1. A member may file a VERIFIED REQUEST setting forth
good cause for exemption (such as physical disability,
illness, post-graduate study abroad, proven expertise in
law) from compliance with or modification of any of the
requirements, including an extension of time for
compliance, in accordance with procedure to be
established by the committee on MCLE.
2. Applications for exemption from or modification of the
MCLE requirement shall be under oath and supported
by documents.
What constitutes non-compliance (CASE-PA)
1. Failure to complete education requirement within the
compliance period;
2. Failure to provide attestation of compliance or
exemption;
3. Failure to provide satisfactory evidence of compliance;
4. Failure to satisfy the education requirement and
furnish the evidence of such compliance within 60 days
from receipt of non-compliance notice;
5. Failure to pay non-compliance fee within the prescribed
period; and
6. Any other act or omission analogous to any of the
foregoing or intended to circumvent or evade
compliance with the MCLE requirement.
Consequences of non-compliance
1. A member who fails to comply with the requirements
after the 60-day period shall be listed as delinquent
member by the IBP Board of Governors upon
recommendation of the Committee on MCLE.
2. The listing as a delinquent member is administrative in
nature BUT shall be made with notice and hearing by
the Committee on MCLE.
B.M. No. 1922, as amended, REQUIRES practicing
members of the bar to INDICATE in all pleadings filed
before the courts or quasi-judicial bodies, the NUMBER
AND DATE OF ISSUE of their MCLE Certificate of
Compliance or Certificate of Exemption, as may be
applicable, for the immediately preceding compliance
period. Failure to disclose the required information

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
CANON 6: THESE CANONS SHALL APPLY TO
LAWYERS IN GOVERNMENT SERVICES IN THE
DISCHARGE OF THEIR TASKS.
This Canon makes the Code applicable to lawyers in
government service.
Rationale: A lawyer does not shed his professional
obligations upon his assuming public office.
Rule 6.01 - The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in
public prosecution is not to convict but to see that
justice is done. The suppression of facts or the
concealment of witnesses capable of establishing the
innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible and
is cause for disciplinary action

LEGAL ETHICS

would cause the dismissal of the case and the


expunction of the pleadings from the records.

All criminal actions commenced by complaint or


information shall be prosecuted under the direction and
control of the prosecutor. In case of heavy work schedule
of the public prosecutor or in the event of lack of public
prosecutors, the private prosecutor may be authorized in
writing by the Chief of the Prosecution Office or the
Regional State Prosecutor to prosecute the case subject
to the approval of the Court. Once so authorized to
prosecute the criminal action, the private prosecutor shall
continue to prosecute the case up to the end of the trial
even in the absence of a public prosecutor, unless the
authority is revoked or otherwise withdrawn (Sec. 5, Rule
110, RRC as amended, May 1, 2002).
If the case is dismissed, the private prosecutor may NOT
file a motion for reconsideration for such duty belongs
solely to the public prosecutor.
Restrictions against using public office to promote
private interest

Public prosecutor
He is a quasi-judicial officer and as such, he should
seek equal and impartial justice. He should be concerned
with seeing that no innocent man suffers as in seeing that
no guilty man escapes (State v. Platon, 40 O.G., 6 th Supp.
235).

Rule 6.02 - A lawyer in the government service shall


not use his public position to promote or advance his
private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with
his public duties.

He should see to it that the accused is given fair and


partial trial and not deprived of any of his statutory or
constitutional rights.
He should recommend the acquittal of the accused whose
conviction is on appeal, if he finds no legal basis to
sustain the conviction (Trieste v. Sandiganbayan, G.R.
No. 70332-43 November 13, 1986).

Applicability of the rule:


1. Lawyers in government service allowed by law to
engage in private practice concurrently;
2.
Those who, though prohibited from engaging in
the practice of law, have friends, former associates and
relatives who are in the active practice of law (Agpalo,
Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.89).

To see that justice is done


Applies not only in favor of the accused but also in favor of
the private complainant (Funa, Legal and Judicial Ethics,
2009, 86).

Public officials and employees during their incumbency


SHALL NOT:
1. Own, control, manage or accept employment as
officer, employee, consultant, counsel, broker, agent,
trustee or nominee in any private enterprise regulated,
supervised or licensed by their office UNLESS
expressly allowed by law;
2. Engage in the private practice of their profession
UNLESS authorized by the Constitution or law,
provided that such practice will not conflict or tend to
conflict with their official functions;
3. Recommend any person to any position in a private
enterprise which has a regular or pending official
transaction with their office; and
4. Use or divulge confidential or classified information
officially known to them by reason of their office and
not available to the public (Sec. 7(b) and (c), Republic
Act 6713).

Private prosecutor
General rule: The offended party has the right to
intervene in the prosecution of a crime.
Exceptions:
1. Where from the nature of the crime and the law defining
and punishing it, no civil liability arises in favor of the
offended party; and
2. Where from the nature of the offense the offended party
is entitled to civil indemnity arising therefrom but he has
waived the same or has expressly reserved his right to
institute a civil action or has already instituted said
action (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.86).

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legal profession (Wilfredo Catu vs. Atty. Vicente Rellosa,
A.C. No. 5738, February 19, 2008).

Restrictions against Former Officially from Accepting


Certain Employment
Rule 6.03 - A lawyer shall not, after leaving
government service, accept engagement or
employment in connection with any matter in which
he had intervened while in said service.
Rationale: To avoid conflict of interests, preclude the
lawyer from using secrets or information learned in his
official capacity, or prevent the appearance of impropriety.
Any matter
Refers to any discrete, isolatable act, as well as
identifiable transaction or conduct involving a particular
situation and specific party, and not merely an act of
drafting, enforcing or interpreting government or agency
proceeding, regulations or laws or briefing abstract
principles of law.
Intervene
Includes an act of a person who has the power to
influence the subject proceedings (PCGG v.
Sandiganbayan G.R.No.151809-12, April 2005).

Section 7 (b), RA 6713


Prohibits any former public official or employee for a
period of one year after retirement or separation from
office to practice his profession in connection with any
other matter before the office he used to be with.
Forbidden Office
A member of the legislature may not accept an
appointment in an office in which was created nor had its
emoluments increased during the lawmakers term of
office.

C HAPTER II: T HE L AWYE RS

AND

THE LEGAL PROFESSION


CANON 7: A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD
THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL
PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF
THE INTEGRATED BAR.
A lawyer who disobeys the law disrespects it. Thus, he
disregards legal ethics and disgraces the dignity of the

Rule 7.01 - A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly


making a false statement or suppressing a material
fact in connection with his application for admission
to the bar.
A lawyer is expected to be honest from the moment he
applies for admission to the bar. HOWEVER, the falsity
referred to in this Canon must be KNOWINGLY done
(Funa, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.100).
Consequences of knowingly making a false statement
or suppression of a material fact in the application for
admission to the Bar:
1. If the false statement or suppression of material fact is
discovered before the candidate could take the bar
examinations, he will be denied permission to take the
examinations.
2. If the false statement or suppression of material fact
was discovered after the candidate had passed the
examinations but before having taken his oath, he will
not be allowed to take his oath as a lawyer.
3. If the discovery was made after the candidate had taken
his oath as a lawyer, his name will be stricken from the
Roll of Attorneys (Pineda, Legal Ethics, 2009, p.117).
Effect if what is concealed is a crime NOT involving
moral turpitude:
Concealment will be taken against him. It is the fact of
concealment and not the commission of the crime itself
that makes him morally unfit to become a lawyer. When
he made concealment, he perpetrated perjury(In re:
Galang, A.M. No. 1162, August 29, 1975).
Note: By asking admis sion to the practice of law, an
applicant puts in issue all his qualifications and assumes
the burden of proof to establish all those qualifications to
the satisfaction of the court (Rosencranz vs. Tidrington,
193 Ind, 472, 141 N.E. 58).
In the case of Leda vs. Tabang (A.C. No. 2505, February
21, 1992), the court held that a lawyers declaration in his
application for Admission to the 1981 Bar Examinations
that he was "single" was a gross misrepresentation of a
material fact made in utter bad faith, for which he should
be made answerable. Rule 7.01, Canon 7, Chapter II of
the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly provides:
"A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly making a
false statement or suppression of a material fact in
connection with his application for admission to the bar."

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1. Categorizes the SC decision as false erroneous and

Rule 7.02 - A lawyer shall not support the application


for admission to the bar of any person known by him
to be unqualified in respect to character, education, or
other relevant attribute.
Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to
those individuals found duly qualified in education and
character. The permissive right conferred on the lawyer is
an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if
he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and
professional conduct.
Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a
scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession.
There is no distinction as to whether the transgression is
committed in the lawyers professional capacity or in his
private life or in his private transaction because a lawyer
may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at
one time and a mere citizen at another (Funa, Legal and
Judicial Ethics, 2009, p. 29).
It has been held in disbarment cases that the mere fact of
sexual relations between two unmarried adults is not
sufficient to warrant administrative sanction for such illicit
behavior However, it is not so with respect to betrayal of
the marital vow of fidelity. Sexual relations outside
marriage is considered disgraceful and immoral as it
manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage
and the marital vows protected by the Constitution and
affirmed by our laws (Vitug v. Rongcal, A..C. No. 6313,
September 7, 2006).
CANON 8: A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF
WITH COURTESY, FAIRNESS AND CANDOR
TOWARDS HIS PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES, AND
SHALL AVOID HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST
OPPOSING COUNSEL.
Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional
dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or
otherwise improper.
Any kind of language which attacks without foundation the
integrity of the opposing counsel or the dignity of the court
may be stricken off the records or may subject a lawyer to
disciplinary action (Report of IBP Committee, p.41).
Some instances of disrespectful language

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illegal (Suo v., Cloribel A.M. No. 01-1-15-RTC, July


2003).
2. Description of judges attitude as unjust, hostile,
vindictive and dangerous (Cornejo v. Judge Tan 85 Phil
772).
3. Calling an adverse counsel as bobo or using the word
ay que bobo in reference to the manner of offering
evidence (Castillo v. Padilla Jr. A.M. No. 2339, February
1984).
4. Summoning another lawyer in a shouting match, hurling
invectives and attempting to throw a punch (Alcantara v.
Pefianco, A.C. No. 5298, December 3, 2002).
5. Stating that justice is blind and also deaf and dumb
(In re: Almacen, L-27654, February 18, 1970).
6. Attributing to the SC acts of dismissing judges without
rhyme and reason and disbarring lawyers without due
process (Zaldivar v. Gonzalez G.R. 79690- 707,
February 1989).
Any undue ill-feeling between clients should not influence
counsels in their conduct and demeanor toward each
other. While lawyers owe entire devotion to the interests of
their clients, their office does not permit violation of the
laws or any manner of fraud or chicanery (Reyes v.
Chiong, Jr., A.C. No. 5148, July 2003).
Disrespectful, abusive and abrasive language, offensive
personality, unfounded accusations or intemperate words
tending to obstruct, embarrass or influence the court in
administering justice, or to bring it into disrepute have no
place in a pleading. Their employment serves no useful
purpose and on the contrary constitutes direct contempt or
contempt in facie curiae (Surigao Mineral Reservation
Board vs. Cloribel, 31 SCRA 1, 1970).
A lawyer who uses intemperate, abusive, abrasive or
threatening language portrays disrespect to the court,
disgraces the Bar and invites the exercise by the court of
its disciplinary power (In re: Gomez, 43 Phil. 376, 1922).
The lawyers arguments, whether written or oral, should
be gracious to both the court and opposing counsel and
be of such words as may be properly addressed by one
gentleman to another (National Security Co. vs. Jarvis
278 U.S. 610).
Lack or want of intention is no excuse for the disrespectful
language employed. Counsel cannot escape responsibility
by claiming that his words did not mean what any reader
must have understood them as meaning (Rheem of the
Philippines vs. Ferrer, 20 SCRA 441,1967).

LEGAL ETHICS
Though a lawyers language may be forceful and
emphatic, it should always be dignified and respectful,
befitting the dignity of the legal profession. The use of
intemperate language and unkind ascriptions has no place
in the dignity of judicial forum. Atty. Ferrer ought to have
realized that this sort of public behavior can only bring
down the legal profession in the public estimation and
erode public respect for it. Whatever moral righteousness
Atty. Ferrer had was negated by the way he chose to
express his indignation (Atty. Bonifacio Barandon, Jr. v.
Atty. Edwin Z. Ferrer, Sr., A.C. No. 5768, March 26, 2010).
HOWEVER, utterances made out of impulse in the course
of an argument may be forgiven and should not be
penalized (Cruz v. Cabrera, A.C. No. 5737, October 25,
2004).
Rule 8.02 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly,
encroach upon the professional employment of
another lawyer, however, it is the right of any lawyer,
without fear or favor, to give proper advice and
assistance to those seeking relief against unfaithful or
neglectful counsel.
A person without a retained lawyer is a legitimate
prospective client for any lawyer whom he approaches for
legal services. But as soon as he had retained one and
had not dismissed the retained counsel, efforts on the part
of another lawyer to take him as client constitutes an act
of encroaching upon the employment of another lawyer
(Pineda, Legal Ethics, 2009, p.130).
Rules on accepting employment on a matter
previously handled by another lawyer
1. A lawyer may properly accept employment to handle a
matter which has been previously handled by another
lawyer, PROVIDED that the first lawyer has been given
notice by the client that his services have been
terminated.
2. In the absence of such notice of termination by the
client, a lawyer retained to take over a case from a
peer in the bar should do so only AFTER he shall have
obtained CONFORMITY of the counsel whom he
would substitute.
3. In the absence of such conformity by the counsel, he
should at least give SUFFICIENT NOTICE to such
lawyer of the contemplated substitution.
4. His entry of appearance without notice to the first
lawyer is an improper encroachment upon the
professional employment of the original counsel.
5. The notice will enable the lawyer sought to be charged
to assert and protect any right to compensation which

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
he may claim or possess (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial
Ethics, 2009, p. 111).
A lawyer should not in any way communicate upon the
subject of controversy with a party represented by
counsel, much less should he undertake to negotiate or
compromise the matter with him, but should deal with his
counsel.
Exceptions:
1. A lawyer may properly interview any witness or
prospective witness for the opposing side in any civil or
criminal action without the consent of opposing counsel
or party.
2. Any person who seeks relief against an unfaithful or
neglectful lawyer may approach another lawyer for
proper advice and assistance. Any advice or assistance
extended after proper verification is not encroaching
upon the business of another lawyer for such act is
justified under the circumstances.
CANON 9: A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR
INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED
PRACTICE OF LAW.
Purpose: To protect the public, the court, the client and
the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those
unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the
disciplinary control of the court.
Passing the bar and taking the oath does not mean that
one is a lawyer already. It is the signing of the Roll of
Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledge lawyer.
Before such time, one cannot engage in the practice of
law (Aguirre vs. Rana, 403 SCRA 342, 2003).
Intervention of intermediary
A lawyer is PROHIBITED from allowing an intermediary to
intervene in the performance of his professional
obligation. The lawyers relation to the client is
PERSONAL and his responsibility is DIRECT to the client.
(Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.114).
Contempt as penalty
The act of pretending or assuming to be an attorney or an
officer of the court and acting as such without authority is
punishable with contempt of court (Rule 71, Sec.3 (e),
Revised Rules of Court).
While a lawyer may accept employment from any
organization to render legal services in any matter in
which the organization as an entity is interested, that
employment should not include the rendering of legal
services to members of such organization in respect to

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Examples of violations of this canon:
1. Respondent admitted that the letterhead of CristalTenorio Law Office listed Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr.,
Gerardo A. Panghulan, and Maricris D. Battung as
senior partners. She admitted that the first two are not
lawyers but paralegals. They are listed in the letterhead
of her law office as senior partners because they have
investments in her law office. That is a blatant
misrepresentation (Cambaliza vs. Atty. CristalTenorio,Adm. Case No. 6290, July 14, 2004).
2. Respondent, who held himself out as a partner of a law
firm, was rendering legal services together with persons
not licensed to practice law. The firm was actually a
cooperative composed of non-lawyers (Plus Builders,
Inc. et. al. v. Revilla, A.C. No. 7056, September 13,
2006).
Rule 9.01- A lawyer shall not delegate to any
unqualified person the performance of any task which
by law may only be performed by a member of the bar
in good standing.
Rationale:
1. The practice of law is limited only to individuals duly
qualified in moral character and education and who
passed the Bar Examinations.
2. A client-lawyer relationship is a personal one. Attorneys
are selected on account of their special fitness through
their learning or probity for the work in hand.
Note: Unqualified person is not limited to non-lawyers
but also to lawyers who are not in good standing and
lawyers who are unqualified (Funa, Legal and Judicial
Ethics, 2009, p. 123).
Lawyers can engage the services of secretaries,
investigators, detectives, researchers, as long as they are
not involved in the practice of law.
Rule 9.02 - A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to
divide a fee for legal services with persons not
licensed to practice law, except:
1. Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a
partner or associate that, upon the latter's death,
money shall be paid over a reasonable period of
time to his estate or to persons specified in the
agreement; or
2. Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished
legal business of a deceased lawyer; or

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their individual affair (Canon 35, Canons of Professional


Ethics).

3. Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer


employees in a retirement plan, even if the plan is
based in whole or in part, on a profit-sharing
agreement.
General rule: Non-lawyers are not entitled to attorneys
fees.
Rationale: Not to leave the public in hopeless confusion
as to whom to consult in case of necessity and also to
leave the bar in a chaotic condition, aside from the fact
that non-lawyers are not amenable to disciplinary
measures
The first and second exceptions to the rule, strictly
speaking, represent compensation for legal services
rendered by the DECEASED lawyer during his lifetime,
which is paid to his estate or heirs.
Note: HOWEVER, impropriety arises where the effect of
the arrangement is to make the estate or heir a member of
the partnership along with the surviving partners, or where
the estate or heir is to receive a percentage of the fees
that may be paid from future business of the deceased
lawyers clients.
The third, strictly speaking, is not a division of legal fees
but a pension representing deferred wages for the
employees past services.
The statutory rule that an attorney shall be entitled to have
and recover from his client a reasonable compensation for
his services necessarily imports the existence of an
attorney-client relationship as a condition for the recovery
of attorney's fees, and such relationship cannot exist
unless the client's representative is a lawyer (Five J v.
NLRC,G.R. No. 111474 August 22, 1994 ).

C HAPTER III: T HE L AWYER


AND THE C OURT
CANON 10: A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS
AND GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT.
A lawyers conduct before the court should be
characterized by candor and fairness. The administration
of justice would gravely suffer if lawyers do not act with
complete candor and honesty before the courts. (Serana
v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 162059, January 22, 2008).
Rationale: The burden cast on the judiciary would be
intolerable if it could not take at face value what is
asserted by counsel.

LEGAL ETHICS
Obligations related to candor (SVDR)
1. Not to suppress material and vital facts which bear on
the merit or lack of merit of the complaint or petition
2. To volunteer to the court any development of the case
which has rendered the issue raised moot and
academic
3. To disclose to court any decision adverse to his position
of which opposing counsel is apparently ignorant and
which court should consider in deciding a case.
4. Not to represent himself as a lawyer for a client, appear
in court and present pleadings in the latters behalf, only
to claim later that he was not authorized to do so.
(Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, pp. 144-145)
Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor
consent to the doing of any in court; nor shall he
mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any
artifice.
Lawyer as a disciple of truth
As an officer of the court, his high vocation is to correctly
inform the court upon the law and the facts of the case
and to aid it in doing justice and arriving at correct
conclusion. The courts, on the other hand, are entitled to
expect only complete honesty from lawyers appearing and
pleading before them. While a lawyer has the solemn duty
to defend his clients cause, his conduct must never be at
the expense of truth(Young v. Batuegas, A.C. 5379, May
2003).
A lawyer should not, in the defense of his client, put on the
stand a witness whom he knows will give a false
testimony. He should not distort the facts in disregard of
the truth and the law nor make improvident arguments
based thereon or on the facts on record (People vs.
Manobo, 18 SCRA 30, 1996).
Any person who shall knowingly offer in evidence a false
witness or testimony in any judicial or official proceeding,
shall be punished as guilty of false testimony and shall
suffer the respective penalties provided in this section
(Art. 184, Revised Penal Code).
Some Cases of Falsehoods by Lawyers which Merited
Discipline
1. Falsely stating in a deed of sale that property is free
from all liens and encumbrances when it is not so
(Sevilla vs. Zoleta, 96 Phil. 979);
2. Making it appear that a person, long dead, executed a
deed of sale in his favor (Monterey vs. Arayata, 61 Phil.
820);
3. Encashing a check payable to a deceased cousin by
signing the latters name on the check (In re:
Samaniego, 90 Phil. 382);

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
4. Falsifying a power of attorney and used it in collecting
the money due to the principal and appropriating the
money for his own benefit (In re: Rusina, 105 Phil.
1328);
5. Alleging in one pleading that his clients were merely
lessees of the property involved, and alleged in a later
pleading that the same clients were the owners of the
same property (Chavez vs. Viola, G.R. 2152, 19 April
1991) where there are false allegations in pleadings.
6. Uttering falsehood in a Motion to Dismiss (Martin vs.
Moreno, 129 SCRA 315).
7. Denying having received the notice to file brief which is
belied by the return card (Ragacejo vs. IAC, 153 SCRA
462).
8. Presenting falsified documents in court which he knows
to be false (Bautista vs. Gonzales, 182 SCRA 151) or
introducing false evidence (Berrenguer vs. Carranza,
26 SCRA 673).
9. Filing false charges or groundless suits (Retuya vs.
Gorduiz, 96 SCRA 526)
10.Manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious CA
resolution before the RTC (Florido v. Florido, A.C. No.
5624, January 20, 2004).
Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or
misrepresent the contents of a paper, the language or
the argument of opposing counsel, or the text of a
decision or authority, or knowingly cite as law a
provision already rendered inoperative by repeal or
amendment, or assert as a fact that which has not
been proved.
Rationale: If not faithfully and exactly quoted, the
decisions and rulings of the court may lose their proper
and correct meaning, to the detriment of other courts,
lawyers and the public who may thereby be misled.
(Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.147).
To knowingly misquote or misrepresent in any of these
matters is not only unprofessional but contemptuous as
well. (ibid., p.146).
A mere typographical error in the citation of an authority is
not contemptuous (Del Rosario v. Chingcuangco, No. L25503, December 17, 1966).
The respondents deliberately made the quote from the
SCRA syllabus appear as the words of the Supreme
Court. The Court admonish them for what is at the least
patent carelessness, if not an outright attempt to mislead
the parties and the courts taking cognizance to
insubordination (Allied Banking Corporation v. CA and
Galanida G.R. No. 144412, November 2003).

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Rationale: Procedures are instruments in the speedy and
efficient administration of justice. They should be used to
achieve such end and not to derail it.
Filing multiple actions constitutes an abuse of the Courts
processes. Those who file multiple or repetitive actions
subject themselves to disciplinary action for incompetence
or willful violation of their duties as attorneys to act with all
good fidelity to the courts, and to maintain only such
actions that appear to be just and consistent with truth and
honor (Pablo R. Olivares etc. vs. Atty. Arsenio Villalon, Jr.,
A.C. No. 6323, April 13, 2007).
CANON 11: A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND
MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND
TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON
SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS.
Rationale: Disrespect toward the court would necessarily
undermine the confidence of the people in the honesty
and integrity of the members of the court, and
consequently to lower or degrade the administration of
justice by the court.
All lawyers are expected to recognize the authority of the
Supreme Court and obey its lawful processes and orders.
Despite errors which one may impute on the orders of the
Court, these must be respected, especially by the bar or
the lawyers who are themselves officers of the courts
(Yap-Paras vs. Atty. Paras, A.C. No. 4947, June 7, 2007).

LEGAL ETHICS

Rule 10.03 - A lawyer shall observe the rules of


procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the
ends of justice.

community or the law school to which they belong. (Re:


Letter of the UP Law Faculty entitled Restoring Integrity:
A statement by the Faculty of the University of the
Philippines College of Law on the allegations of
plagiarism and misrepresentation in the Supreme
Court, A.M. No. 10-10-4-SC, March 8, 2011).
Rule 11.01 - A lawyer shall appear in court properly
attired.
Male: Either Barong Tagalog or suit with tie
Female: Appropriate business attire (Funa, Legal and
Judicial Ethics, 2009, p. 170).
Rule 11.02 - A lawyer shall punctually appear at court
hearings.
Inexcusable absence from, or repeated tardiness in,
attending a pre-trial or hearing may not only subject the
lawyer to disciplinary action but may also prejudice his
client who may not be non-suited, declared in default or
adjudged liable ex parte, as the case may be (Agpalo,
Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p. 153).
Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous,
offensive or menacing language or behavior before
the Courts.
The lawyers duty to render respectful subordination to the
courts is essential to the orderly administration of justice.
Hence, in the assertion of the clients rights, lawyers
even those gifted with superior intellect, are enjoined to
rein up their tempers (Zaldivar vs. Gonzales, 166 SCRA
316, 1988).
(See discussion under 8.01)

Liberally imputing sinister and devious motives and


questioning the impartiality, integrity, and authority of the
members of the Court result in the obstruction and
perversion of the dispensation of justice (Estrada v.
Sandiganbayan, G.R. No.159486-88, November 2000).
Even as lawyers passionately and vigorously propound
their points of view, they are bound by certain rules of
conduct for the legal profession. This Court is certainly
not claiming that it should be shielded from criticism. All
the Court demands are the same respect and courtesy
that one lawyer owes to another under established ethical
standards. All lawyers, whether they are judges, court
employees, professors or private practitioners, are officers
of the Court and have voluntarily taken an oath, as an
indispensable qualification for admission to the Bar, to
conduct themselves with good fidelity towards the courts.
There is no exemption from this sworn duty for law
professors, regardless of their status in the academic

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Rule 11.04 - A lawyer shall not attribute to a judge


motives not supported by the record or have no
materiality to the case.
This rule does not preclude a lawyer from criticizing
judicial conduct, PROVIDED the criticism is:
1. Supported by the record; or
2. Material to the case (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics,
2009, p. 157).
Rule 11.05 - A lawyer shall submit grievances against
a Judge to the proper authorities only.
Proper authority: The Supreme Court shall have
administrative supervision over all courts and personnel
thereof (Sec. 5 [5], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution of the
Philippines).

LEGAL ETHICS
Right and duty of a lawyer to criticize courts
1. The fact that a person is a lawyer does not deprive him
of the right, enjoyed by every citizen, to comment on
and criticize the actuations of a judge.
2. The court, in a pending litigation, must be shielded from
embarrassment or influence in its all-important duty of
deciding the case. Once litigation is concluded, the
judge who decided it is subject to the same criticism as
any other public official because his ruling becomes
public property and is thrown open to public
consumption.
3. It is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it
shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of
decency and propriety (Zaldivar v. Gonzalez, supra).
4. The duty of the bar to support the judge against unjust
criticism and clamor does not, however, preclude a
lawyer from filing administrative complaints against
erring judges or from acting as counsel for clients who
have legitimate grievances against them. But the lawyer
should file charges against the judge before the proper
authorities only and only after proper circumspection
and without the use of disrespectful language and
offensive personalities so as not to unduly burden the
court in the discharge of its functions (Urbina vs.
Maceren, 57 SCRA 403, 1974).
A lawyer may not file administrative complaint against a
judge, which arises from his judicial acts, until the lawyer
shall have exhausted judicial remedies which result in a
finding that the judge has gravely erred. If the lawyer does
so without exhausting such judicial remedies or awaiting
the result thereof, he may be administratively held to
account therefore (Flores v. Abesamis, 275 SCRA 301,
1997).
Note on a lawyers freedom of expression: As to the
question on whether lawyers who are also law professors
can invoke academic freedom as a defense in an
administrative proceeding for intemperate statements
tending to pressure the Court or influence the outcome of
a case or degrade the courts.
The same is answered through the application by
analogy of the Courts past treatment of the free speech
defense in other bar discipline cases. Academic freedom
cannot be successfully invoked by respondents. The
implicit ruling in jurisprudence is that the constitutional
right to freedom of expression of members of the Bar
may be circumscribed by their ethical duties as lawyers to
give due respect to the courts and to uphold the publics
faith in the legal profession and the justice system. The
reason that freedom of expression may be so delimited in
the case of lawyers applies with greater force to the
academic freedom of law professors. It is not contested

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
that respondent professors are, by law and jurisprudence,
guaranteed academic freedom and undisputably, they are
free to determine what they will teach their students and
how they will teach. But it must be pointed out that there
is nothing in the Show Cause Resolution that dictates
upon respondents the subject matter they can teach and
the manner of their instruction. Moreover, it is not
inconsistent with the principle of academic freedom for
the Court to subject lawyers who teach law to disciplinary
action for contumacious conduct and speech, coupled
with undue intervention in favor of a party in a pending
case, without observing proper procedure, even if
purportedly done in their capacity as teachers. (Re:
Letter of the UP Law Faculty entitled Restoring Integrity:
A statement by the Faculty of the University of the
Philippines College of Law on the allegations of
plagiarism and misrepresentation in the Supreme
Court, A.M. No. 10-10-4-SC, March 8, 2011).
CANON 12: A LAWYER SHALL EXERT EVERY
EFFORT AND CONSIDER IT HIS DUTY TO ASSIST IN
THE SPEEDY AND EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION OF
JUSTICE.
Constitutional basis: All persons shall have the right to a
speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasijudicial, or administrative bodies (Art. III, Sec. 16
Constitution).
The filing of another action concerning the same subject
matter, in violation of the doctrine of res judicata, runs
contrary to this Canon (John Siy Lim vs. Atty. Carmelito A.
Montano, A.C. No. 5653, February 27, 2006).
Rule 12.01 - A lawyer shall not appear for trial unless
he has adequately prepared himself on the law and
the facts of his case, the evidence he will adduce and
the order of its preference. He should also be ready
with the original documents for comparison with the
copies.
A newly hired counsel who appears in a case in the
midstream is presumed and obliged to acquaint himself
with all the antecedent processes and proceedings that
have transpired in the record prior to his takeover (Villasis
vs. Court of Appeals, 60 SCRA 120, 1974).
Rule 12.02 - A lawyer shall not file multiple actions
arising from the same cause.
Forum shopping:
The institution two or more actions or proceedings
grounded on the same cause, on the gamble that one or

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The most important factor in determining the existence
of forum shopping is the vexation caused the courts and
parties by a party who asks different courts to rule on the
same or related causes or grant the same or substantially
the same reliefs (Benguet Electric Cooperatve, Inc. v. Atty.
Ernesto B. Flores, A.C. No. 4058, March 12, 1998).
Penalties for violation of the rule against forum
shopping under Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure
1. Failure to comply with the requirements shall NOT be
curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other
initiatory pleading but shall be cause for dismissal of the
case without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon
motion and after hearing;
2. The submission of a false certification or noncompliance with any of the undertakings therein shall
constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice
to the corresponding administrative and criminal
actions; and
3. If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute
willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be
ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall
constitute direct contempt, as well as a cause for
administrative sanctions.
Note: The mere filing of several cases based on the same
incident does not necessarily constitute forum shopping.
The question is whether the several actions filed involve
the same transactions, essential facts and circumstances.
If they involve essentially different facts, circumstances
and causes of action, there is no forum shopping
(Paredes vs. Sandiganbayan, 252 SCRA 641, 1996).
General Rule: A certification against forum shopping must
be signed by the client and not by the counsel. Otherwise,
it is equivalent to non-compliance with the Rules of Court
and is defective (Far Eastern Shipping Co. v. CA and PPA,
G.R. No. 130068, October 1, 1998).
Exception: When the counsel attests in the certification
that he has personal knowledge of the facts stated and
gives justifiable reasons why the party himself cannot sign
the same (Ortiz v. CA, 299 SCRA 708, 1998).
Rule 12.03 - A lawyer shall not, after obtaining
extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or
briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the
same or offering an explanation for his failure to do
so.

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the other court would make a favorable disposition


(Chemphil Export & Import Corp. v. CA, 260 SCRA 247).

The court frowns on lawyers practice of repeatedly


seeking extensions to file pleadings and thereafter simply
letting the period lapse without submitting any pleading or
even any explanation of manifestation for their failure. The
same rule applies more forcefully to motion for
continuance. POSTPONEMENT is NOT a matter of right
but a sound judicial discretion (Edrial v. Quilat-Quilat G.R.
No. 133625, September 2000).
Rule 12.04 - A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case,
impede the execution of a judgment or misuse Court
processes.
Once a judgment becomes final and executory, the
prevailing party should not be denied the fruits of his
victory by some subterfuge devised by the losing party.
Unjustified delay in the enforcement of a judgment sets at
naught the role of courts in disposing justiciable
controversies with finality (Aguilar vs. Manila Banking
Corporation, G.R. No. 157911, Sept. 19, 2006).
Lawyers should not resort to nor abet the resort of their
clients, to a series of actions and petitions for the purpose
of thwarting the execution of a judgment that has long
become final and executory (Perez vs. Lazatin, 23 SCRA
645).
As part of the lawyers duty to assist in the early
termination of the case, he should inform the court:
1. Within thirty days, of the death of his client in a pending
case (Heirs of Elias Lorilla v. CA, 330 SCRA 429, 2000).
2. Of any change of his address (City Sheriff Iligan City v.
Fortunato, 288 SCRA 190, 1998).
Rule 12.05 - A lawyer shall refrain from talking to his
witness during a break or recess in the trial, while the
witness is still under examination.
Purpose: To prevent the suspicion that he is coaching the
witness what to say during the resumption of the
examination. Moreover, this rule is also designed to
uphold and maintain fair play with the other party and to
prevent the examining lawyer from being tempted to
coach his own witness to suit his purpose.
Rule 12.06 - A lawyer shall not knowingly assist a
witness to misrepresent himself or to impersonate
another.
The witness who commits misrepresentation is criminally
liable for False Testimony either under Art. 181, 182 or
183 of the Revised Penal Code, as the case may be. The
lawyer who induces a witness to commit false testimony is
equally guilty as the witness.

LEGAL ETHICS
The lawyer who presented a witness knowing him to be a
false witness is criminally liable for Offering False
Testimony in Evidence under Art. 184.
The lawyer who is guilty of the above is both criminally
and administratively liable.
Subornation of perjury
It is committed by a person who knowingly and willfully
procures another to swear falsely and the witness
suborned does testify under circumstances rendering him
guilty of perjury (U.S. vs. Ballena, 18 Phil. 382)
Rule 12.07 - A lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat or
harass a witness nor needlessly inconvenience him.
It was highly inconsiderate for the prosecutor and the
defense counsel to trade quips at the precise time
Rowena was reliving her harrowing experience. Courts
are looked up to by the people with high respect and are
regarded as places where litigants are heard, rights and
conflicts are settled and justice solemnly dispensed. Levity
has no place in the courtroom during the examination of
the victim of rape, and particularly at her expense (People
v. Nuguid G.R. No. 148991, January 2004).
Rights and obligations of a witness under the Rules of
Court
A witness must answer questions, although his answer
may tend to establish a claim against him. However, it is
the right of a witness:
1. To be protected from irrelevant, improper, or insulting
questions, and from harsh or insulting demeanor;
2. Not to be detained longer than the interests of justice
require;
3. Not to be examined except only as to matters pertinent
to the issue;
4. Not to give an answer which will tend to subject him to a
penalty for an offense unless otherwise provided by law;
or
5.
Not to give an answer which will tend to
degrade his reputation, unless it to be the very fact at
issue or to a fact from which the fact in issue would be
presumed. But a witness must answer to the fact of his
previous final conviction for an offense (Rule 132, Sec.
3).
Rule 12.08 - A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of
his client, except:
1. On formal matters, such as the mailing,
authentication or custody of an instrument, and the
like; or
2. On substantial matters, in cases where his
testimony is essential to the ends of justice, in

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
which event he must, during his testimony, entrust
the trial of the case to another counsel.
Rationale: There is a difference between the function of a
witness and that of an advocate. A witness is to tell the
facts as he recalls them in answer to questions while an
advocate is a partisan. The lawyer will find it hard to
dissociate his relation to his client as an attorney and his
relation to the party as a witness (Jacobs v. Weissinger,
211 Mich. 47, 178 NW 65, 1920).
The question is one of propriety than competency.
While the law does not disqualify a lawyer from testifying,
the practice is violative of the rule on professional conduct
(Philippine National Bank v. Uy Teng Piao, 57 Phil 337,
1932).
Lawyer as witness
A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of his client. The
function of a witness is to tell the facts as he recalls them
in answer to questions. The function of an advocate is that
of a partisan. It is difficult to distinguish between the zeal
of an advocate and the fairness and impartiality of a
disinterested witness.
Although the law does not forbid an attorney to be a
witness and at the same time an attorney in a cause, the
courts prefer that counsel should not testify as a witness
unless it is necessary, and that they should withdraw from
the active management of the case (PNB v. Uy Teng Piao,
57 Phil 337, 1932).
Instances when a lawyer MAY NOT testify as a witness
in a case which he is handling for a client
1. When such would adversely affect any lawful interest of
the client with respect to which confidence has been
reposed on him;
2. Having accepted a retainer, he cannot be a witness
against his client;
3. He cannot serve conflicting interests;
4. When he is to violate the confidence of his client; and
5. When as an attorney, he is to testify on the theory of the
case.
Instances when a lawyer MAY testify as a witness in a
case which he is handling for a client
1. On formal matters, such as the mailing, authentication
or custody of an instrument and the like;
2. Acting as an expert on his fee;
3. Acting as an Arbitrator;
4. Deposition; and
5. On substantial matters in cases where his testimony is
essential to the ends of justice, in which event he must,

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CANON 13: A LAWYER SHALL RELY UPON THE
MERITS OF HIS CAUSE AND REFRAIN FROM ANY
IMPROPRIETY WHICH TENDS TO INFLUENCE, OR
GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF INFLUENCING THE
COURT.
Rule 13.01 - A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary
attention or hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for
cultivating familiarity with Judges.
Rationale: To protect the good name and reputation of the
judge and the lawyer
Lawyers should not seek for opportunity to cultivate
familiarity with judges. A lawyer who resorts to such
practices of seeking familiarity with judges dishonors his
profession and a judge who consents to them is unworthy
of his high office.
It is improper for a litigant or counsel to see a judge in
chambers and talk to him about a matter related to the
case pending in the court of said judge (Austria vs.
Masaquel, 20 SCRA 1247, 1967).
HOWEVER, it is not incumbent on a lawyer to refuse
professional employment in a case because it may be
heard by a judge who is his relative, compadre or former
colleague. The responsibility is on the judge not to sit in a
case unless he is both free from bias and from the
appearance thereof (Bautista v. Rebueno, 81 SCRA 535,
1978).
Rule 13.02 - A lawyer shall not make public statements
in the media regarding a pending case tending to
arouse public opinion for or against a party.
The subjudice rule governs what public statements,
whether orally or in published writings, can be made about
matters pending in legal proceedings before the courts.
The rule applies where court proceedings are ongoing,
and through all stages of appeal until the matter is
completed. It is not limited to parties in a case or their
lawyers. It applies as well to the public and public officials
including legislators (Funa, Legal and Judicial Ethics,
2009, p. 213).
Making public statements in the media regarding
a pending case which tends to arouse public opinion for or
against a party may also constitute indirect contempt
under Section 3 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court (Funa,
Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p. 214).

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during his testimony, entrust the trial of the case to


another counsel.

Test when public statements are contemptuous: The


character of the act done and its direct tendency to
prevent and obstruct the discharge of official duty is the
test to determine whether a newspaper publication
concerning a pending case is contemptuous (Toledo,
Newspaper Co. v. US, 407 US 1186).
In a concluded litigation, a lawyer enjoys a wider latitude
to comment on or criticize the decision of s judge or his
actuation. Thus, a newspaper publication tending to
impede, obstruct, embarrass or influence the courts in
administering justice in a pending case constitutes
criminal contempt, but the rule is otherwise after the
litigation is ended. (In re: Lozano, 54 Phil. 801, 1930).
The restriction does NOT prohibit issuance of statements
by public officials charged with the duty of prosecuting or
defending actions in court. However, such statements
should avoid any statement of fact likely to create an
adverse attitude in the public mind respecting the alleged
actions of the defendants to the pending proceedings
(A.B.A Op. 199, January 26, 1940).
Rule 13.03 - A lawyer shall not brook or invite
interference by another branch or agency of the
government in the normal course of judicial
proceedings.
Rationale: To preserve the independence of the judges in
the performance of their duties
The Supreme Court accordingly administered a reprimand
to respondent for gross ignorance of law and of the
Constitution in having asked the President to set aside by
decree the Courts decision which suspended him for two
years from the practice of law (De Bumanlag v. Bumanlag
A.M. No. 188, November 1976).

C HAPTER IV: T HE L AWYER


AND THE C LIENT
Attorney-Client relationship
Nature of relation
1. Strictly personal;
2. Highly confidential; and
3. Fiduciary
General rules protecting attorney-client relationships
1. The attorney must exert his best efforts to protect the
interest of his client.
2. He must promptly account for any fund or property
entrusted by or received for, his client.

LEGAL ETHICS
3. He cannot purchase his clients property or interest in
litigation.
4. The privacy of communications shall at all times be
upheld.
5. An attorney cannot represent a party whose interest is
adverse to that of his client even after the termination of
the relation.
Creation of relation: forms of employment as counsel
to a client
1.
Oral when the counsel is employed without a
written agreement, but the conditions and amount of
attorneys fees are agreed upon.
2.
Express when the terms and conditions
including the amount of fees, are explicitly stipulated in
a written document which may be a private or public
document. Written contract of attorneys fees is the law
between the lawyer and the client.
3.
Implied when there is no agreement, whether
oral or written, but the client allowed the lawyer to
render legal services not intended to be gratuitous
without objection, and the client is benefited by reason
thereof.
Note: While a written agreement for professional services
is the best evidence to show the relation, formality is not
an essential element of the employment of an attorney.
The absence of a written contract will not preclude a
finding that there is a professional relationship.
Documentary formalism is not an essential element in the
employment of an attorney; the contract may be express
or implied.
Advantages of a written contract between the lawyer
and the client:
1. It is conclusive as to the amount of compensation.
2. In case of unjustified dismissal of an attorney, he shall
be entitled to recover from the client full compensation
stipulated in the contract (RA 636).
CANON 14: A LAWYER SHALL NOT REFUSE HIS
SERVICES TO THE NEEDY.
Rule 14.01 A lawyer shall not decline to represent a
person solely on account of the latters race, sex,
creed or status of life, or because of his own opinion
regarding the guilt of said person.
Right to decline employment
General Rule: A lawyer is not obliged to act as legal
counsel for any person who may wish to become his
client. He has the right to decline employment.

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Exceptions:
1. A lawyer shall not refuse his services to the
needy (Canon 14);
2. He shall not decline to represent a person solely on
account of the latters race, sex, creed or status of life or
because of his own opinion regarding the guilt of said
person (Rule 14.01);
3. Neither shall he decline, except for serious and
sufficient cause, an appointment as counsel de oficio or
amicus curiae or a request from the IBP or any of its
chapters for rendition of free legal aid (Rule 14.02);
4. He shall not decline, except for serious and sufficient
cause like (1) if he is not in a position to carry out the
work effectively or competently; (2) if he labors under a
conflict of interest between him and the prospective
client or between a present client and the prospective
client (Rule 14.03).
Duty to decline employment
A lawyer SHOULD decline professional employment
regardless of how attractive the fee offered may be if its
acceptance will involve:
1. A violation of any of the rules of the legal profession;
2. Nullification of a contract which he prepared;
3. Advocacy in any matter in which he had intervened
while in the government service;
4. Employment, the nature of which might easily be used
as a means of advertising his professional services or
his skill;
5. Employment with a collection agency, which solicits
business to collect claims; and
6. Any matter in which he knows or has reason to believe
that he or his partner will be an essential witness for the
prospective client.
Reasons
1. The attorneys signature in every pleading constitutes a
certificate by him that there is good cause to support it
and that it is not interposed for delay and willful violation
of such rule shall subject him to disciplinary action.
2. It is the attorneys duty to counsel or maintain such
actions or proceedings only as appear to him to be just
and only such defenses as he believes to be honestly
debatable under the law.
3. A lawyer is not to encourage either the commencement
or the continuance of an action or proceeding, or delay
any mans cause, for any corrupt motive or interest.
4. A lawyer must decline to conduct a civil cause or to
make a defense when convinced that it is intended
merely to harass or injure the opposite party or to work
oppression or wrong.

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If he were to take a bad civil case for the plaintiff, it will
only be to advise him not to file the action or to settle it
with the client.
If he were to accept the defense of a bad civil case for the
defendant, it will either be to exert his best effort toward a
compromise or to tell his client to confess judgment.
Rule 14.02 - A lawyer shall not decline, except for
serious and sufficient cause, an appointment as
counsel de officio or as amicus curiae, or a request
from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any of its
chapters for rendition of free legal aid.
Rule 14.03 - A lawyer may not refuse to accept
representation of an indigent client if:
a. He is not in a position to carry out the work
effectively or competently;
b.He labors under a conflict of interest between him
and the prospective client or between a present
client and the prospective client.
Any of the following may constitute a sufficient cause
under Rule 14.02:
1. 1. It is believed that it is a sufficient cause where the
lawyer cannot handle the matter competently; or
2. In case of conflict of interest (Funa, Legal and Judicial
Ethics, 2009, p.226); or
3. Where the lawyer is to incur out-of-pocket expenses
for investigation costs, fees for witnesses, unable to
continue his private practice [Brown v. Board of County
Commissioners, 451 P.2d 708 (Nev. 1969(].
Rule 14.04 - A lawyer who accepts the cause of a
person unable to pay his professional fees shall
observe the same standard of conduct governing his
relations with paying clients.
Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Service (B.M. No. 2012)
Pursuant to an en banc Resolution of the Supreme Court,
this Rule took effect on January 1, 2010, provided its
implementing regulations have been published prior to the
said date.
Purpose
To enhance the duty of lawyers to society as agents of
social change and to the courts as officers thereof by
helping improve access to justice by the less privileged

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Exception BUT with limitation: A lawyer may accept a


losing civil case provided that, in so doing, he must not
engage in dilatory tactics and must advise his client about
the prospects and advantages of settling the case through
a compromise.

members of society and expedite the resolution of cases


involving them.
Definition of terms
1. Practicing lawyers are members of the Philippine Bar
who appear for and in behalf of parties in courts of law
and quasi-judicial agencies. The term "practicing
lawyers" shall EXCLUDE:
a. Government employees and incumbent elective
officials not allowed by law to practice;
b. Lawyers who by law are not allowed to appear in
court;
c. Supervising lawyers of students enrolled in law
student practice in duly accredited legal clinics of law
schools and lawyers of NGOs)and peoples
organizations (POs) who by the nature of their work
already render free legal aid to indigent and pauper
litigants and
d. Lawyers not covered under subparagraphs (i) to (iii)
including those who are employed in the private
sector but do not appear for and in behalf of parties in
courts of law and quasi-judicial agencies.
2.
Indigent and pauper litigants are those defined
under Rule 141, Section 19 of the Rules of Court and
Algura v. The Local Government Unit of the City of Naga
(G.R. No.150135, 30 October 2006, 506 SCRA 81);
a. (Sec. 19. Rule 141) Indigent litigants are those
whose gross income and that of their immediate
family do not exceed an amount double the monthly
minimum wage of an employee and who do not own
real property with a fair market value as stated in the
current tax declaration of more than three hundred
thousand pesos.
b. (Section 21. Rule 3). An indigent party may be
authorized to litigate his action, claim or defense as
an indigent if the court, upon an ex parte application
and hearing, is satisfied that the party is one who has
no money or property sufficient and available for food,
shelter and basic necessities for himself and his
family.
3. Legal aid cases are those actions, disputes, and
controversies that are criminal, civil and
administrative in nature in whatever stage wherein
indigent and pauper litigants need legal
representation.
Requirements
1. Every practicing lawyer is required to render a minimum
of sixty (60) hours of free legal aid services to indigent
litigants in a year.Said 60 hours shall be spread within a
period of twelve (12) months, with a minimum of five (5)
hours of free legal aid services each month. However,
where it is necessary for the practicing lawyer to render
legal aid service for more than five (5) hours in one

LEGAL ETHICS
month, the excess hours may be credited to the said
lawyer for the succeeding periods.
2. The practicing lawyer shall report compliance with the
requirement within ten (10) days of the last month of
each quarter of the year.
3. A practicing lawyer shall be required to secure and
obtain a certificate from the Clerk of Court attesting to
the number of hours spent rendering free legal aid
services in a case.
4. Said compliance report shall be submitted to the Legal
Aid Chairperson of the IBP Chapter within the courts
jurisdiction.
5. The IBP Chapter shall, after verification, issue a
compliance certificate to the concerned lawyer. The IBP
Chapter shall also submit the compliance reports to the
IBPs National Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA) for
recording and documentation.
6. Practicing lawyers shall indicate in all pleadings filed
before the courts or quasi-judicial bodies the number
and date of issue of their certificate of compliance for
the immediately preceding compliance period.
Penalties
1. At the end of every calendar year, any practicing lawyer
who fails to meet the minimum prescribed 60 hours of
legal aid service each year shall be required by the IBP,
through the NCLA, to explain why he was unable to
render the minimum prescribed number of hours.
2. If no explanation has been given or if the NCLA finds
the explanation unsatisfactory, the NCLA shall make a
report and recommendation to the IBP Board of
Governors that the erring lawyer be declared a member
of the IBP who is not in good standing.
3. Upon approval of the NCLAs recommendation, the IBP
Board of Governors shall declare the erring lawyer as a
member not in good standing.
4. The notice to the lawyer shall include a directive to pay
four thousand pesos P4,000 as penalty which shall
accrue to the special fund for the legal aid program of
the IBP.
5. The "not in good standing" declaration shall be effective
for a period of three (3) months from the receipt of the
erring lawyer of the notice from the IBP Board of
Governors.
6. During the said period, the lawyer cannot appear in
court or any quasi-judicial body as counsel.
7. Provided, however, that the "not in good standing"
status shall subsist even after the lapse of the threemonth period until and unless the penalty shall have
been paid.
8. Any lawyer who fails to comply with his duties under this
Rule for at least three (3) consecutive years shall be
the subject of disciplinary proceedings to be instituted
motu proprio by the Committee on Bar Discipline.

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Free Legal Assistance Act of 2010 (R.A. No. 9999)
Purposes
1. To guarantee free legal assistance to the poor, and
2. To ensure that every person who cannot afford the
services of a counsel is provided with a competent and
independent counsel preferably of his/her own choice.
Legal services to be performed by a lawyer
Any activity which requires the application of law, legal
procedure, knowledge, training and experiences which
shall include, among others, legal advice and counsel,
and the preparation of instruments and contracts,
including appearance before the administrative and quasijudicial offices, bodies and tribunals handling cases in
court, and other similar services as may be defined by the
Supreme Court.
Requirements for availment
To avail of the benefits and services as envisioned in this
Act, the following requirements should be met:
1. A lawyer or professional partnership shall secure a
certification from the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), the
Department of Justice (DOJ) or accredited association
of the Supreme Court indicating that the said legal
services to be provided are within the services defined
by the Supreme Court, and that the agencies cannot
provide the legal services to be provided by the private
counsel.
2. To determine the number of hours actually provided by
the lawyer and/or professional firm in the provision of
legal services, the association and/or organization duly
accredited by the Supreme Court shall issue the
necessary certification that said legal services were
actually undertaken.
3. The certification issued by, among others, the PAO, the
DOJ and other accredited association by the Supreme
Court shall be submitted to the BIR for purposes of
availing the tax deductions and to the DOJ for purposes
of monitoring.
Incentives to Lawyers
A lawyer or professional partnerships rendering actual free
legal services, as defined by the Supreme Court, shall be
entitled to an allowable deduction from the gross income,
the amount that could have been collected for the actual
free legal services rendered or up to ten percent (10%) of
the gross income derived from the actual performance of
the legal profession, whichever is lower: Provided, That
the actual free legal services herein contemplated shall be
exclusive of the minimum sixty (60)-hour mandatory legal
aid services rendered to indigent litigants as required

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
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CANON 15: A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR,
FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY IN ALL HIS DEALINGS AND
TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS CLIENTS.
It demands of an attorney an undivided allegiance, a
conspicuous and high degree of good faith,
disinterestedness, candor, fairness, loyalty, fidelity and
absolute integrity in all his dealings and transactions with
his clients and an utter renunciation of every personal
advantage conflicting in any way, directly or indirectly, with
the interest of his client (Oparel, Sr. vs. Abara, 40 SCRA
128, 1971).
If they find that their clients cause is defenseless, then it
is their bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and
submit, rather than to traverse the incontrovertible
(Consorcia S. Rollon vs. Atty. Camilo Naraval, A.C. No.
6424, March 4, 2005).
Rule 15.01 - A lawyer, in conferring with a prospective
client, shall ascertain as soon as practicable whether
the matter would involve a conflict with another client
or his own interest, and if so, shall forthwith inform
the prospective client.
Rule 15.02 A lawyer shall be bound by the rule on
privileged communication in respect of matters
disclosed to him by a prospective client.

LEGAL ETHICS

under the Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Services for


Practicing Lawyers, under BAR Matter No. 2012, issued
by the Supreme Court.

2. The communication was made by the client to the


lawyer in the course of the lawyers professional
employment; and
3. The communication must be intended to be
confidential (Uy Chico vs. Union Life Association
Society, 29 Phil 163, 1915).
Thus, the mere relation of attorney and client does not
raise a presumption of confidentiality.
Confidential communication: information transmitted
through voluntary act of disclosure between attorney and
client in confidence, and by means of which, so far as the
client is aware, discloses the information to no third
person other than one reasonably necessary for the
transmission of the information or the accomplishment of
the purpose for which it was given.
Duration of the privilege
The privilege continues to exist even after the termination
of the attorney-client relationship. It outlasts the lawyers
engagement. The privileged character of the
communication ceases only when waived by the client
himself or after his death, by the heir or legal
representative (Baldwin vs. Comm. Of Internal Revenue,
125 F 2d 812, 141 LRA 548).
Burden of Proof
The party who avers that the communication is privileged
has the burden of proof to establish the existence of the
privilege unless from the face of the document itself, it
clearly appears that it is privileged. The mere allegation
that the matter is privileged is not sufficient (People vs.
Sleeper, 46 Phil. 625).

(See discussion under Canon 21)


Factors that establish the existence of the attorneyclient privilege communication
1. Where legal advice of any kind is sought;
2. from a professional legal adviser in his capacity as
such;
3. the communications relating to that purpose;
4. made in confidence;
5. by the client;
6. are at his instance permanently protected;
7. from disclosure by himself or by the legal advisor;
8. except the protection be waived (Ma. Luisa Hadjula vs.
Atty. Roceles F. Madianda, A.C. No. 6711, July 3, 2007).

Art. 209. Betrayal of trust by an attorney or solicitor.


Revelation of secrets. In addition to the proper
administrative action, there shall be imposed upon any
attorney-at-law or solicitor (procurador judicial) who, by
any malicious breach of professional duty or of
inexcusable negligence or ignorance, shall prejudice his
client, or reveal any of the secrets of the latter learned by
him in his professional capacity.
Rule 15.03 - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting
interests except by written consent of all concerned
given after a full disclosure of the facts
Conflict of interest

Requisites for the attorney-client privilege (CIA)


1. There exists an attorney and client relationship or a
kind of consultancy relationship with a prospective
client. That is, legal advice is what is sought; This
includes persons appointed as counsel de oficio;

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Duty of a lawyer to his client in case there is conflict


of interest
The proscription against representation of conflicting
interest finds application where the conflicting interests
arise with respect to the same general matter and is

LEGAL ETHICS
applicable however slight such adverse interest may be;
the fact that the conflict of interests is remote or merely
probable does not make the prohibition inoperative
(Pormento v. Pontevedra A.C. 5128, March 2005).
Rationale: To bar the dishonest practitioner from
fraudulent conduct and to prevent the honest practitioner
from putting himself in a position where he may be
required to choose between conflicting duties
Exceptions to the rule against representation of
conflicting interests
1. Where no conflict of interest exists;
2. Where clients knowingly consent to the dual
representation; and
3. Where no true attorney-client relationship is
attendant.
Tests to determine conflicting interests
1. Conflicting Duties: Will the attorney be required to
contest for that which his duty to another client requires
him to oppose?
2. Invitation of Suspicion: Will the acceptance of a new
relation invite suspicion and/or actually lead to
unfaithfulness or double-dealing towards another client?
3. Use of prior knowledge obtained: Will the attorney be
called upon in his new relation to use against his first
client any knowledge acquired in the previous
employment?
This pertains to those cases in which the adverse party
against whom the attorney appears is his former client
in a matter which is related, directly or indirectly, to the
present controversy
This rule covers NOT ONLY cases in which confidential
communications have been confided, BUT ALSO those
in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be
used.
A lawyers immutable duty to a former client does NOT
COVER transactions that occurred beyond the lawyers
employment with the client. The intent of the law is to
impose upon the lawyer the duty to protect the clients
interests only on matters that he previously handled for
the former client and not for matters that arose after the
lawyer-client relationship has terminated (Ruthie LimSantiago vs. Atty. Carlos B. Sagucio, A.C. No. 6705,
March 31, 2006).
It is inconsequential that petitioner never questioned the
propriety of respondents continued representation of
Rodriguez. The lack of opposition does not mean tacit
consent. As long as the lawyer represents inconsistent
interests of two or more opposing clients, he is guilty of

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
violating his oath (San Jose Homeowners Association,
Inc. vs. Romanillos, A.C. No. 5580, June 15, 2005).
Instances when a lawyer is considered having
conflicting duties
1. As an employee of a corporation whose duty is to
attend to its legal affairs, he cannot join a labor union of
employees in that corporation;
2. As a lawyer who investigated an accident as counsel for
insurance, he cannot represent the injured person;
3. As a receiver of a corporation, he cannot represent the
creditor;
4. As a representative of the obligor, he cannot represent
the obligee; and
5. As a lawyer representing a party in a compromise
agreement, he cannot, subsequently, be a lawyer
representing another client who seeks to nullify the
agreement.
Effects of representing adverse interests
1. Disqualification as counsel of new client on petition of
former client;
2. Where such is unknown to, and becomes prejudicial to
the interests of the new client, a judgment against such
may, on that ground, be set aside;
3. A lawyer can be held administratively liable through
disciplinary action and may be held criminally liable for
betrayal of trust; and
4. The attorneys right to fees may be defeated if found to
be related to such conflict and such was objected to by
the former client, or if there was a concealment and
prejudice by reason of the attorneys previous
professional relationship with the opposite party.
Effect of termination of relation
Termination of relation provides no justification for a
lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict
with that of the former client (San Jose v. Cruz, 57 Phil.
79, 1949).
Rationale: The clients confidence once reposed cannot
be divested by the expiration of the professional
employment (Hilado v. David, 84 Phil. 569, 1949).
Note: A lawyer is forbidden from representing a
subsequent client against a former client only when the
subject matter of the present controversy is related,
directly or indirectly, to the subject matter of the previous
litigation in which he appeared to the former client
(Nombrado v. Hernandes, 26 SCRA 13, 1968).
The rule likewise applies to law firms. Where a lawyer
is disqualified from appearing as counsel in a case
because of conflict of interests, the law firm of which he is

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
a member as well as any member, associate or assistant
therein is similarly disqualified or prohibited from so acting
(Hilado v. David, 84 Phil. 569, 1949).

Rationale: Certain ethical considerations governing the


client-lawyer relationship may be operative in one case
and not in the other (Report of the IBP Committee, p. 84).

Rule 15.04 A lawyer may, with the written consent of


all concerned, act as mediator, conciliator or arbitrator
in settling disputes.
Consent in writing is required to prevent future controversy
on the authority of the lawyer to act as mediator or
arbitrator. However, a lawyer who acts as mediator,
conciliator or arbitrator in settling a dispute, cannot
represent any of the parties to it (Report of IBP
Committee, p. 82).

A lawyer is not barred from dealing with his client but the
business transaction must be characterized with utmost
honesty and good faith. Business transactions between an
attorney and client are disfavored and discouraged by
policy of law because by virtue of a lawyers office, he is in
an easy position to take advantage of the credulity and
ignorance of his client. Thus, there is no presumption of
innocence or improbability of wrongdoing in favor of
lawyers (Nakpil vs. Valdez, A.C. No. 2040, March 4,
1998).

Rule 15.05 A lawyer, when advising his client, shall


give a candid and honest opinion on the merits and
probable resultsof the clients case, neither
overstating nor understating the prospects of the
case.
As officers of the court, counsels are under obligation to
advise their clients against making untenable and
inconsistent claims. Lawyers are not merely hired
employees who must unquestionably do the bidding of the
client, however unreasonable this may be when tested by
their own expert appreciation of the facts and applicable
law and jurisprudence. COUNSEL MUST COUNSEL
(Periquet vs. NLRC, 186 SCRA, 1990).
Rule 15.06 A lawyer shall not state nor imply that he
is able to influence any public official, tribunal or
legislative body.
This rule is known as INFLUENCE-PEDDLING.
It is improper for a lawyer to show in any way that he has
connections and can influence any tribunal or public
official, judges, prosecutors, congressmen and others,
specially so if the purpose is to enhance his legal standing
and to entrench the confidence of the client that his case
or cases are assured of victory.
Rule 15.07 A lawyer shall impress upon his client
compliance with the laws and the principles of
fairness.
A lawyer who advises his client not to obey the order of
the courts is guilty of contempt and misconduct (Conge
vs. Deret, C.A.-G.R. No. 08848-CR., March 25, 1974).
Rule 15.08 A lawyer who is engaged in another
profession or occupation concurrently with the
practice of law shall make clear to his client whether
he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.

CANON 16: A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL


MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT
MAY COME INTO HIS PROFESSION.
Rule 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or
property collected or received for or from the client.
This duty of a lawyer is generally derived from the law on
agency, which imposes the duties of separation,
accounting, notification and delivery on all agents
possessing the principals property (Funa, 2009, p.256).
Obligations of a lawyer under Rule 16.01 (ARD)
1. When a lawyer collects or receives money from his
client for a particular purpose, he should promptly
account to the client how the money was spent.
2. If he does not use the money for its intended purpose,
he must immediately return it to the client. His failure
either to render an accounting or to return the money (if
the intended purpose of the money does not
materialize) constitutes a blatant disregard of Rule
16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
3. ,A lawyer has the duty to deliver his clients funds or
properties as they fall due or upon demand. His failure
to return the clients money upon demand gives rise to
the presumption that he has misappropriated it for his
own use to the prejudice of and in violation of the trust
reposed in him by the client (Hector Trenas vs. People
of the Philippines. G.R. No. 195002. January 25, 2012).
Rule 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each
client separate and apart from his own and those of
others kept by him.
Rationale: To prevent confusion
misappropriation of funds and properties

and

possible

Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and


property of his client when due or upon demand.

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However, he shall have a lien on the funds and may
apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy
his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice
promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also have a
lien to the same extent on all judgments and the
execution he has secured for his client as provided
for in the Rules of Court.
A lawyer is not entitled to unilaterally appropriate his
clients money for himself by the mere fact alone that the
client owes him attorneys fees (Rayos v. Hernandez,
G.R. No. 169079, February 12, 2007).
Rule 16.04 - A lawyer shall not borrow money from his
client unless the client's interests are fully protected
by the nature of the case or by independent advice.
Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except,
when in the interest of justice, he has to advance
necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling
for the client.
A lawyer who takes advantage of his clients financial
plight to acquire the latters properties for his own benefit
is destructive of the confidence of the public in the fidelity,
honesty and integrity of the legal profession (Hernandez,
Jr. v. Go, A.C.No. 1526, January 2005).
Prohibitions under Rule 16.05
1. Lawyer borrowing money from client
Rationale: To prevent lawyer from taking advantage of
his influence over the client
2. Lawyer lending money to client
Rationale: To assure the lawyers independent
professional judgment (Comments of the IBP
Committee).
Prohibition against purchase of property in litigation
under the Civil Code
Art. 1491: The following persons cannot acquire by
purchase, even at a public or judicial auction, either in
person or through the mediation of another:
Xxx
(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of
superior and inferior courts, and other officers and
employees connected with the administration of justice,
the property and rights in litigation or levied upon an
execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or
territory they exercise their respective functions; this
prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment
and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the property
and rights which may be the object of any litigation in
which they may take part by virtue of their profession.

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Prohibition is absolute and permanent, and rests on
considerations of public policy and interest. There is no
need to show fraud and no excuse will be heard. Law
does not trust human nature to resist temptation likely to
arise.
Elements of Prohibition
1. There is an attorney-client relationship;
2. The property is in litigation;
3. The attorney is the counsel of record in the case; and
4. The attorney, by himself or through an agent, purchases
such property during the pendency of said case
Other instances where prohibition is applicable
Redemption, compromise and renunciation of the subject
in litigation (Art. 1492, NCC).
Lease of the subject in litigation (Art.1646, NCC).
Instances where prohibition is INAPPLICABLE:
1. Where the property purchased by a lawyer was not
involved in litigation;
2. Where the sale took place before it became involved in
the suit;
3. Where the attorney at the time of the purchase was not
the counsel in the case;
4. Where the purchaser of the property in litigation was a
corporation even though the attorney was an officer
thereof;
5. Where the sale took place after the termination of the
litigation;
6. A lawyer may accept an assignment from his client of a
money judgment rendered in the latters favor in a case
in which he was not counsel, in payment of his
professional services performed in another case; and
7. In a contract for attorneys fees which is contingent
upon the outcome of the litigation.
A lawyer may borrow money from a client bank for here,
the clients interests are fully protected by the banks rules
and regulations which have to be complied with. A lawyer
is allowed to borrow money from his client provided the
interests of the client are fully protected by the nature of
the case or by independent advice (Pineda, Legal Ethics,
2009, p. 283).
CANON 17: A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE
CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL
OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM.
Good moral character expresses itself in the will to do the
unpleasant thing if it is right and the resolve not to do the
pleasant thing if it is wrong (Cordon v. Balicanta, A.C. No.
2797, October 4, 2002).

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Diligence: The attention and care required of a person in
a given situation and is the opposite of negligence
(Edquibal v. Ferrer, A.C. No. 5687, February 2005).
It is axiomatic in the practice of law that the price of
success is eternal diligence to the cause of the client.
Ordinary pater familias and not extraordinary diligence is
required (Edquibal v. Ferrer, supra).
A lawyer is presumed to be diligent in the performance of
his duties (People vs. Mantawar, 80 Phil 817).
Duty to protect the clients interests
Rule 18.01 - A lawyer shall not undertake a legal
service which he knows or should know that he is not
qualified to render. However, he may render such
service if, with the consent of his client, he can obtain
as collaborating counsel a lawyer who is competent
on the matter.
A lawyers acceptance of a case is an implied
representation that he possesses the requisite degree of
academic learning, skill and ability in his practice (Azor v.
Beltran, A.C. No. 1054, March 25, 1975).
General Rule: A lawyer should not accept a case which
he knows or should know he is not qualified to render.
Exception: If his client consents, the lawyer can take as
collaborating counsel another lawyer competent on the
matter.
Collaborating counsel
One who is subsequently engaged to assist a lawyer
already handling a particular case for a client (Pineda,
Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p. 291.
The fiduciary nature of attorney-client relationship
prohibits a lawyer from collaborating with another in a
particular case without the consent of the client (Agpalo,
Comments on the Code of Professional Responsibility
and the Code of Judicial Connduct, 2004, p. 291).
The same diligence of the first counsel is required of the
collaborating counsel (Sublay v. NLRC, 324 SCRA 188).

LEGAL ETHICS

CANON 18: A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT


WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.

Duty to handle cases with adequate preparation


Rule 18.02 - A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter
without adequate preparation.
Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter
entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable.
In the absence of contrary evidence, a lawyer is presumed
to be prompt and diligent in the performance of his duties
and to have employed his best efforts, learning and ability
in the protection of his clients interests and in the
discharge of his duties as an officer of the court (People v.
Mantawar, 80 Phil. 817).
The attorneys duty to safeguard the clients interests
commences from his retainer until his effective release
from the case or the final disposition of the whole subject
matter of the litigation. During that period, he is expected
to take such reasonable steps and such ordinary care as
his clients interests may require.
A lawyer who received money to handle a clients case but
rendered no service at all shall be subject to disciplinary
measure (Dalisay v. Atty. Melanio Batas Mauricio, A.C.
No. 5655, April 2005).
The mere failure of the lawyer to perform the obligations
due to the client is considered per se a violation. The
circumstance that the client was also at fault does not
exonerate a lawyer from liability for his negligence in
handling a case (Atty. Elmer C. Solidon vs. Atty. Ramil E.
Macalalad, A.C. No. 8158, February 24, 2010).
General rule: The client is bound by his counsels
conduct, negligence and mistake in handling the case.
Exceptions:
1. Where adherence to the rule will result in outright
deprivation of the clients liberty or property
2. Where the interests of justice require and accord
relief to the client who suffered by reason of the
lawyers gross negligence (Agpalo, 2009, p.363).
Duty to keep the client fully informed
Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of
the status of his case and shall respond within a
reasonable time to the client's request for information.
He should notify his client of an adverse decision while
within the period to appeal to enable his client to decide
whether to seek an appellate review. He should

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communicate with him concerning the withdrawal of
appeal with all its adverse consequences. The client is
entitled to the fullest disclosure of the mode or manner by
which his interest is defended.
Respondent Atty. Ga breached the duties imposed by
Rules 18.03 and 18.04 when he failed to reconstitute or
turn over the records of the case to his client, herein
complainant Gone. His negligence manifests lack of
competence and diligence required of every lawyer. His
failure to comply with the request of his client was a gross
betrayal of his fiduciary duty and a breach of the trust
reposed upon him by his client. Respondents sentiments
against complainant Gone is not a valid reason for him to
renege on his obligation as a lawyer. The moment he
agreed to handle the case, he was bound to give it his
utmost attention, skill and competence. Those who
perform that duty with diligence and candor not only
safeguard the interests of the client, but also serve the
ends of justice (Patricio Gone v. Atty. Macario Ga, A.C.
No. 7771, April 6, 2011).
Doctrine of imputed knowledge
(Notice to Counsel is Notice to Client)
The knowledge acquired by an attorney during the time
that he is acting within the scope of his authority is
imputed to the client (Ramirez v. Sheriff of Pampanga, 75
Phil 462).
Basis: An attorney, who has notice of matter affecting his
client, has communicated the same to his principal in the
course of professional dealings.
The doctrine applies regardless of whether or not the
lawyer actually communicated to the client what he
learned in his professional capacity, the attorney and his
client being, in legal contemplation, one juridical person
(Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.350).
Exceptions
1. If strict application might foster dangerous collusion to
the detriment of justice;
2. If service of notice upon party instead of upon his
attorney is ordered by court;
3. If notice of pre-trial is required to be served upon parties
and their respective lawyers; and
4. In appeal from the lower court to the RTC, upon
docketing of appeal. Failure to appeal to CA despite
instructions by the client to do so constitutes
inexcusable negligence on the part of the counsel.
Canon 18, Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility requires a lawyer to keep his client
informed of the status of the case and respond within a

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
reasonable time to the clients request for information
(Abiero vs. Juanino, A.C. No. 5302, February 2005).
Duty when the accused intends to plead guilty
A plea of guilty is an admission by the accused of his guilt
of crime as charged in the information and of the truth of
the facts alleged, including the qualifying and aggravating
circumstances.
It is the duty of the defense counsel when his client
desires to enter a plea of guilty to: (ACEPA)
1. Fully Acquaint himself with the records and surrounding
circumstances of the case;
2. Confer with the accused and obtain from him his
account of what had happened;
3. Thoroughly Explain to him the import of a guilty plea
and the inevitable conviction that will follow;
4. See to it that the prescribed Procedure which
experience has shown to be necessary to the
administration of justice is strictly followed and disclosed
in the court records; and
5. Advise him of his constitutional rights.
Duty to comply with the clients lawful request
A lawyer should endeavor to seek instruction from his
client on any substantial matter concerning the litigation,
which may require decision on the part of the client, such
as whether to compromise the case or to appeal an
unfavorable judgment. He should give his client sound
advice on any such and similar matters and comply with
the clients lawful instructions relative thereto. He should
resist and should never follow any unlawful instruction of
his client.
CANON 19: A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS
CLIENT WITH ZEAL WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE
LAW.
In the discharge of his duty of entire devotion to the
clients cause, a lawyer should present every remedy or
defense authorized by law in support of his clients cause,
regardless of his personal views (Legarda vs. Court of
Appeals, 195 SCRA 418, 1991).
While a lawyer owes absolute fidelity to the cause of his
client, full devotion to his genuine interest, and warm zeal
in the maintenance and defense of his rights, he must do
so only within the bounds of law (Choa vs. Chiongson,
260 SCRA 477, 1996).
A lawyers duty is not to his client but to the administration
of justice; to that end, his clients success is wholly
subordinate and his conduct ought to and must always be
unscrupulously observant of law and ethics (Magsalang
vs. People, 190 SCRA 306).

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LEGAL ETHICS

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Duty to restrain client from impropriety

Authority of a lawyer

Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and


honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his
client and shall not present, participate in presenting
or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to
obtain an improper advantage in any case or
proceeding.

Rule 19.03 - A lawyer shall not allow his client to


dictate the procedure in handling the case.

Under this Rule, a lawyer should not file or threaten to file


any unfounded or baseless criminal case or cases against
the adversaries of his client designed to secure a leverage
to compel the adversaries to yield or withdraw their own
cases against the lawyer's client (Fernando Martin O.
Pena vs. Atty. Lolito G. Aparicio, A.C. No. 7298, June 25,
2007).
Duty to advice candidly
As officers of the court, counsels are under obligation to
advise their clients against making untenable and
inconsistent claims. The counsel should inform his client
and dissuade him from filing the case if it is totally devoid
of merit. If he finds that his clients cause is fairly
meritorious and ripe for judicial adjudication, he should
refrain from making bold and confident assurances of
success.
Duty of lawyer in case of knowledge of clients fraud
Rule 19.02 - A lawyer who has received information
that his client has, in the course of the representation,
perpetrated a fraud upon a person or tribunal, shall
promptly call upon the client to rectify the same, and
failing which he shall terminate the relationship with
such client in accordance with the Rules of Court.
A lawyer should use his best efforts to restrain and to
prevent his client from doing those things which he himself
ought not to do, particularly with reference to the conduct
toward the court, judicial officer, witness and suitor and if
the client persists in such wrong doing, the lawyer should
terminate their relation (Surigao Mineral Reservation
Board v. Cloribel L-27072, January 1970).
He may not volunteer the information concerning the
clients commission of fraud to anybody, as it will violate
his obligation to maintain his clients secrets undisclosed
(Agpalo, p.218).

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The Code warns a lawyer not to allow his client to dictate


the procedure in handling the case. In short, a lawyer is
not a gun for hire (Millare v. Atty. Montero A.C. No. 3283,
July 1995).
Note: In matters of law, it is the client who should yield to
the lawyer and not the other way around.
Authority of a lawyer to appear for or represent a
client
Appearance
Is the coming into court as a party either as a plaintiff or as
a defendant and asking relief therefrom.
Presumption of authority
An attorney is presumed to be properly authorized to
represent any cause in which he appears in all stages of
the litigation and no written authority is required to
authorize him to appear.
The presumption is a strong one. A mere denial by a party
that he has authorized an attorney to appear for him, in
the absence of any compelling reason, is insufficient to
overcome the presumption especially when the denial
comes after the rendition of an adverse judgment.
Effects of an unauthorized appearance
1. Party is not bound by the attorneys appearance in the
case or by the judgment rendered therein;
2. Court does not acquire jurisdiction over the person if the
party has not been served with summons;
3. The adverse party who has been forced to litigate as a
defendant by the unauthorized action on the part of the
attorney for the plaintiff may, on that ground, move for
the dismissal of the complaint; and
4. If unauthorized appearance is willful, attorney may be
cited for contempt as an officer of the court who has
misbehaved in his official transactions, and he may be
disciplined for professional misconduct.
Ratification of unauthorized appearance
1.
Express: categorical assertion by client that he
has authorized a lawyer or that he confirms his
authorization to represent him in the case.
2.
Implied: where a party with knowledge of the
fact that a lawyer has been representing him in a case,

LEGAL ETHICS
accepts benefits of representation or fails to promptly
repudiate the assumed authority.
Requisites for implied ratification by silence
1. Party represented by lawyer must be of age, competent
or if suffers from disability, has a guardian or legal
representative;
2. Party or guardian is aware of attorneys representation;
and
3. He fails to promptly repudiate assumed authority.
Authority of attorney in the conduct of litigation
1. A lawyer has authority to bind the client in all matters of
ordinary judicial PROCEDURE. He can bind his client
on SUBSTANTIAL MATTERS only with the clients
express or implied consent.
2. A client may waive, surrender, dismiss, or compromise
any of his rights involved in litigation in favor of the other
party even without or against the consent of his
attorney.
Even if a lawyer believes that the appeal of his client is
frivolous, he cannot move to dismiss the appeal without
the consent of his client. His remedy is to withdraw from
the case (People v. Pagaro, Minute Resolution, G.R. No.
930026-27, July 24, 1991).

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
knowledge, or consent, even though he has agreed with
his attorney not to do so. Hence, a claim for attorneys
fees does not void the compromise agreement and is no
obstacle
to
a
court
approval
(Atty. Mangontawar M. Gubat v. NAPOCOR, G.R. No.
167415. February 26, 2010).
Mistakes or negligence of lawyer binding upon client
General rule: Client is bound by attorneys conduct,
negligence and mistake in handling case or in
management of litigation and in procedural technique, and
he cannot be heard to complain that result might have
been different had his lawyer proceeded differently
(Vivero v. Santos, 98 Phil 500, 1956).
Exceptions:
1. Where adherence thereto results in outright deprivation
of clients liberty or property or where interest of justice
so requires;
2. Where error by counsel is purely technical which does
not substantially affect the clients cause;
3. Ignorance, incompetence or inexperience of a lawyer is
so great and error so serious that client, who has good
cause, is prejudiced and denied a day in court;
4. Gross negligence of lawyer; and
5. Lack of acquaintance with technical part of procedure.

Authority to compromise
ATTORNEYS FEES
Compromise
A contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal
concessions, avoid litigation or put an end to one already
commenced (Art. 2028 NCC).
General rule: The attorney has NO authority to
compromise his clients case (Rule 138 Sec 23 RRC).
Reason: The client, even if represented by counsel,
retains exclusive control over the subject matter of the
litigation. The client can, of course, authorize his lawyer to
compromise his case, and the settlement made by the
lawyer will bind his client.
Exception: Where the lawyer is confronted with an
emergency and prompt, urgent action is necessary to
protect the interest of his client and there is no opportunity
for consultation with him.
A client has an undoubted right to settle a suit without the
intervention of his lawyer, for he is generally conceded to
have the exclusive control over the subject-matter of the
litigation and may, at any time before judgment, if acting in
good faith, compromise, settle, and adjust his cause of
action out of court without his attorneys intervention,

CANON 20: A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY FAIR


AND REASONABLE FEES.
Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following
factors in determining his fees:
a. The time spent and the extent of the
service
rendered or required;
b.The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;
c. The importance of the subject matter;
d.The skill demanded;
e. The probability of losing other employment as a
result of acceptance of the proffered case;
f. The customary charges for similar services and the
schedule of fees of the ibp chapter to which he
belongs;
g.The amount involved in the controversy and the
benefits resulting to the client from the service;
h.The contingency or certainty of compensation;
i. The character of the employment, whether
occasional or established; and
j. The professional standing of the lawyer.

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Requisites for the right to attorneys fees
1. Existence of attorney-client relationship.
2. Rendition by the lawyer of services to the client.
Two concepts of attorneys fees
1. Ordinary: the reasonable compensation paid to the
lawyer for the legal services he had rendered in favor of
his client. The basis of this compensation is the fact of
employment by the client.
2. Extraordinary: an indemnity for damages ordered by
the court to be paid by the losing party to the prevailing
party in a litigation. The basis of this is any of the cases
authorized by law and is payable not to the lawyer but
to the client unless there is an agreement that the
award shall pertain to the lawyer as an additional
compensation or as part thereof.
The expiration of the retainer contract between the parties
during the pendency of the labor case does not extinguish
the respondents right to attorneys fees (Uy v. Gonzales
A.C. No. 5280, March 2004).
Attorneys fees as damages
General rule: Attorneys Fees as damages is not
recoverable because it is not the fact of winning that ipso
facto justifies the award but the attendance of any of the
special circumstances.
Exceptions
1. There is an agreement;
2. Exemplary damages are awarded;
3. Defendants action or omission in gross bad faith
compelled plaintiff to litigate;
4. In criminal cases of malicious prosecution
a. Defendant was acquitted
b. Person who charged him knowingly made the false
statement of facts or that the filing was prompted by
sinister design to vex him;
5. Action is clearly unfounded and is so untenable that it
amounts to gross bad faith;
6. Actions for support;
7. Cases for the recovery of wages;
8. Defendant acted in gross and evident bad faith;
9. In actions for indemnity under workmens compensation
and employees liability laws;
10.In separate civil action arising from a crime;

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LEGAL ETHICS

Basis for attorneys fees


The fact of employment as lawyer by the client constitutes
the legal basis of the lawyers right to demand payment for
his services. No formal contract is necessary to effectuate
employment.

11. When at least double costs are awarded which is


usually awarded to frivolous actions;
12.When the court deems it just and equitable; and
13.A special law so authorizes
RETAINER (Two Concepts)
1. ACT of a client by which he engages the services of an
attorney to render legal advice or to defend or
prosecute his cause in court
2. FEE which a client pays to the attorney
Kinds of Retainer Agreement:
1. General retainer: It is the fee paid to a lawyer to secure
his future services as general counsel for any ordinary
legal problem that may arise in the ordinary business of
the client and referred to him for legal action. The client
pays fixed retainer fees, which could be monthly or
otherwise. The fees are paid whether or not there are
cases referred to the lawyer; or
2. Special retainer: fee for a specific case or service
rendered by the lawyer for the client.
Kinds of payment that may be stipulated upon
1. Fixed or Absolute Fee that which is payable
regardless of the result of the case
2. Contingent Fee that which is conditioned on the
securing of a favorable judgment and recovery of
money or property and the amount of which may be on
a percentage basis.
3. Based on piece of work
The lawyer gets paid ONLY IF he wins the case.
A contract for contingent fee, where sanctioned by law,
should be reasonable under all the circumstances of the
case including the risk and uncertainty of the
compensation, but should always be subject to the
supervision of a court, as to its reasonableness. In the
instant case, Attys. Roxas and Pastor received an
amount which was equal to forty-four percent (44%) of
the just compensation paid or an amount equivalent to
P23,980,000.00 of the P54,500,000.00. Considering
that there was no full blown hearing in the expropriation
case, ending as it did in a Compromise Agreement, the
44% is, undeniably, unconscionable and excessive
under the circumstances (Roxas, et al. vs. De
Zuzuarregui, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 152072, Jan. 31,
2006).
4. Fixed fee payable per appearance
5. Fixed fee computed by the number of hours spent
6. Fixed fee based on piece of work
7. A combination of the above arrangements or an
entirely different agreement not contrary to law,
morals or public policy (Pineda, Legal Ethics, 2009,
p.324).

LEGAL ETHICS
Situations when Counsel Cannot Recover the Full
Amount, despite a Written Contract for Attorneys
Fees.
1. Services are not performed; as when the counsel
withdrew before the case is finished, except when
withdrawal is justified.
2. Justified dismissal of the attorney. Payment will be
based on quantum meruit (Cristobal vs. Ocson, 44 Phil
489).
3. Stipulated Attorneys fees are unconscionable(Cruz
vs. CIR, 8 SCRA 826).
4. Stipulated Attorneys fees are in excess of what is
expressly fixed by law; under the Labor Code,
Attorneys fees cannot exceed 10%.
5. When the lawyer is guilty of fraud or bad faith toward
his client in the matter of his employment (Medina vs.
Bautista, 12 SCRA 1).
6. Counsels services were worthless because of his
negligence (Delos Santos vs. Palanca, 8 SCRA 765).
7. Contract of employment is illegal.
8. Serving adverse interest, unless he acted with the
consent of both parties.
QUANTUM MERUIT
This means as much as the lawyer deserves or such
amount as his services merit; fixed by the court (Agpalo,
Comments on Code of Professional Responsibility and
the Code of Judicial Conduct, 2004, p. 285).
The principle of quantum meruit applies if a lawyer is
employed without a price agreed upon for his services in
which case he would be entitled to receive what he merits
for his services, as much as he has earned (Quilban vs.
Robinol, A.M. No. 2144, April 10, 1989).
Rationale: To prevent undue enrichment
Some instances of recovery of attorneys fees on the
basis of Quantum Meruit (FUN-DDV)
1. There is no express contract for payment of attorneys
fees agreed upon between the lawyer and the client;
2. When although there is a formal contract for attorneys
fees, the fees stipulated are found unconscionable;
3. When the contract for attorneys fees is void due to
purely formal defects of execution;
4. When, for justifiable cause, the lawyer was not able to
finish the case;
5. When the lawyer and the client disregarded the contract
for fees (Rilloraza et al. v. Eastern Telecommunications
Phils. Inc. et al., G.R. No. 104600, July 2, 1999); and
6. When the client dismissed his counsel before the
termination of the case (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial
Ethics, p. 389).

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Guides for determining attorneys fees on the basis of
Quantum Meruit: (TINSP2AC3)
1. Time spent and extent of the services rendered or
required
A lawyer may charge higher fees when the case is
complicated and requires more time and effort.
2. Importance of subject matter
The more important the subject matter or the bigger the
value of the interest of property in litigation, the higher is
the attorneys fees.
3. Novelty and difficulty of questions involved
4. Skill demanded of a lawyer
A lawyer of great skill justifies a higher fee than an
ordinary practitioner.
5. Probability of losing other employment
A lawyer may charge a higher fee if by reason of his
retention as counsel by a client, he loses the chance of
employment by the opposite party because of the
prohibition against representing conflicting interests.
6. Customary charges for similar services and schedule
fees of IBP
7. Amount involved in the controversy and benefits
resulting to the client from the service
8. Contingency or certainty of compensation
9. Character of employment
A lawyer generally charges a higher fee from a
casual client than from a constant client.
10.Professional standing of the lawyer.
Attorneys liens
Charging lien
An equitable right to have the fees and lawful
disbursements due a lawyer for his services in a suit
secured to him out of the judgment for the payment of
money and executions issued in pursuance thereof in the
particular suit(Bacolod Murcia Milling Co. v. Hernaes, 107
Phil. 16, 1936).
A charging lien, to be enforceable as a security for the
payment of attorneys fees, requires as a condition sine
qua non a judgment for money and execution in
pursuance of such judgment secured in the main action by
the attorney in favor of his client (Metrobank v. CA G.R.
No.86100-03, January 1990).
Requisites for enforceability of charging lien (CAMS2)
1. An attorney-client relationship;
2. The attorney has rendered services;
3. Favorable money judgment secured by the counsel for
his client;

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LEGAL ETHICS

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
4. The attorney has a claim for attorneys fees or
advances; and
5. A statement of the claim has been duly recorded in the
case with notice thereof served upon the client and the
adverse party.
Effects of a valid charging lien
1. Becomes a collateral security on real or personal
property
2. Follows the proceeds of the judgment obtained for the
client in the case wherever they may be and whoever
received them
3. Enjoys preference of credit over that of a creditor who
subsequently recorded it
4.
Gives the lawyer standing to protest its
prejudicial discontinuance by the client (Agpalo, Legal
and Judicial Ethics, 2009, pp.457-458).
Assignment of charging lien
General Rule: May be assigned or transferred without
preference thereof being extinguished

possession of
the attorney by
reason of his
professional
employment.

Effectivity

As soon as the
attorney gets
possession of
the
papers,
documents, or
property.

Notice

Client need not


be notified to
make
it
effective.

Applicability

May
be
exercised
before
judgment or
execution or
regardless
thereof.

Extinguishment

When
possession
lawfully ends,
as when the
lawyer
voluntarily
parts with the
funds,
documents
and papers,
but NOT when
the documents
have
been
improperly or
illegally taken
from lawyers
custody
(Agpalo, Legal
and Judicial
Ethics, 2009,
p. 450).

Exception: When the assignment will result to a breach of


the attorneys duty to preserve his clients confidence.
RETAINING LIEN: A right merely to retain the funds,
documents, and papers as against the client until the
attorney is fully paid his fees
Requisites: (ALU)
1. Attorney-client relationship;
2. Lawful possession by the lawyer of the clients funds,
documents and papers in his professional capacity; and
3. Unsatisfied claim for attorneys fees or
disbursements.
Point of
Distinction
Nature

Basis

Coverage

Retaining
Lien
Passive Lien. It
cannot
be
actively
enforced. It is
a general lien.
Lawful
possession of
papers,
documents,
property
belonging to
the client.
Covers papers,
documents,
and properties
in the lawful

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Charging Lien
Active Lien. It
can be enforced
by execution. It
is a special lien.
Securing of a
favorable money
judgment for the
client.
Covers
all
judgments for
the payment of
money
and

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2013 CENTRALIZED BAR OPERATIONS

execution
issued
in
pursuance
of
such judgments;
proceeds
of
judgment
in
favor of client;
proceeds
of
compromise
settlement.
As soon as the
claim
for
attorneys fees
had
been
entered into the
records of the
case.
Notice must be
served
upon
client
and
adverse party.
Generally,
exercisable only
when
the
attorney
had
already secured
a
favorable
judgment for his
client.

When the client


loses the action
as the lien may
only be enforced
against
a
judgment
awarded in favor
of the client, the
proceeds
thereof
or
executions
thereon
(Agpalo, Legal
and
Judicial
Ethics, 2009, p.
459).

CHAMPERTOUS CONTRACT
One where the lawyer stipulates with his client that in the
prosecution of the case, he will bear all he expenses for

LEGAL ETHICS
the recovery of things or property being claimed by the
client, and the latter agrees to pay the former a portion of
the thing or property recovered as compensation. It is
VOID for being against public policy.
Contingent Contract
Contingent
fee
payable in cash

is

Champertous
Contract
Payable in kind ONLY

Lawyers do
not Lawyers undertake to
undertake to pay all pay all expenses of
expenses of litigation
litigation
Valid

Void

Rule 20.02 - A lawyer shall, in case of referral, with the


consent of the client, be entitled to a division of fees
in proportion to the work performed and responsibility
assumed.
This is not in the nature of a brokers commission.
Rule 20.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the full
knowledge and consent of the client, accept any fee,
reward, costs, commission, interest, rebate or
forwarding allowance or other compensation
whatsoever related to his professional employment
from anyone other than the client.
Rationale: To secure the fidelity of the lawyer to the
clients cause
There should be no room for suspicion on the part of the
client that his lawyer is receiving compensation in
connection with the case from third persons with hostile
interests (Report of the IBP Committee).
Whatever a lawyer receives from the opposite party in the
service of his client belongs to the client, in the absence of
clients consent.
Exception: A lawyer may receive compensation from a
person other than his client when the latter has full
knowledge and approval thereof (Rule 138, Sec. 20 e).
Enforcement of attorneys fees
Rule 20.04 - A lawyer shall avoid controversies with
clients concerning his compensation and shall resort
to judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice
or fraud.
General rule
A lawyer should avoid the filing of any case against a
client for the enforcement of attorneys fees.

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Exceptions
1. To prevent imposition;
2. To prevent injustice; and
3. To prevent fraud.
Effect of nullity of contract on the right to attorneys
fees
1. If the nullification is due to the illegality of its object, the
lawyer is precluded from recovering; and
2. If the nullity is due to a formal defect or because the
court has found the amount to be recovered is
unconscionable, the lawyer may recover for any
services rendered based on quantum meruit.
When and where may a claim of fees be asserted?
1. The very action in which the services in question have
been rendered, OR
2. In a separate civil action
Instances when an independent civil action to recover
attorneys fees is necessary
1. Main action is dismissed or nothing is awarded;
2. Court has decided that it has no jurisdiction over the
action or has already lost it;
3. Person liable for attorneys fees is not a party to the
main action;
4. Court reserved to the lawyer the right to file a separate
civil suit for recovery of attorneys fees;
5. Services for which the lawyer seeks payment are not
connected with the subject litigation; and
6. Judgment debtor has fully paid all of the judgment
proceeds to the judgment creditor and the lawyer has
not taken any legal step to have his fees paid directly to
him from the judgment proceeds.
Compensation to which a lawyer is entitled to
depending on his capacity
1. Counsel de Parte He is entitled to the reasonable
attorneys fees agreed upon, or in the absence thereof,
on quantum meruit basis.
2. Counsel de Oficio The counsel may not demand from
the accused attorneys fees even if he wins the case.
He may, however, collect from the government funds, if
available based on the amount fixed by the court.
3. Amicus Curiae not entitled to attorneys fees.
Duty of confidentiality
CANON 21: A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE
CONFIDENCE AND SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN
AFTER THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATION IS
TERMINATED.

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LEGAL ETHICS

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
The lawyers duty to maintain inviolate his clients
confidence is perpetual.
Rule 21.01 - A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences
or secrets of his client, except:
1. When authorized by the client after acquainting him
of the consequences of the disclosure;
2. When required by law;
3. When necessary to collect his fees or to defend
himself, his employees or associates or by judicial
action.

seeking legal advice from his attorney as to his legal rights


or obligations (Agpalo, 2009, p.275).

Confidence
Information protected by the Attorney-client privilege
(Report of IBP Committee, p. 117).

Generally, the attorney-client privilege covers:


1. Lawyer;
2. Client; and
3. Third persons who by reason of their work have
acquired information about the case being handled
such as:
a. Attorneys secretary, stenographer and clerk;
b. Interpreter, messengers and agents transmitting
communication; and
c. An accountant, scientist, physician, engineer who
has been hired for effective consultation.
(Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p.276).

Secret
Other information gained in the professional relationship
that the client has requested to be held inviolate or the
disclosure of which would be embarrassing or detrimental
to the client (Ibid).
Requisites for the attorney-client privilege
(See discussion under Rule 15.02.)
Evidentiary privilege: All of the elements inherent in the
rule must concur to make the communication privileged
against disclosure.
Purposes
1. To encourage a client to make a full disclosure of the
facts of the case to his counsel without fear; and
2. To allow the lawyer freedom to obtain full information
from his client.
Form or mode of communication covered
Article 1.
Oral statements
Article 2.
Written statements
Article 3.
Actions, signs or other means of
communication
Article 4.
Those transmitted by any form of agency,
such as through messenger or interpreter
(Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2009, p. 276).
Retainer fee not necessary
Payment of a retainer fee is NOT essential before an
attorney can be required to safeguard a prospective
clients secret acquired by the attorney during the course
of consultation with the prospective client, even if the
attorney did not accept the employment.
Requirement of seeking legal advice
The essence of the veil of secrecy is that the
communication is intended by the client NOT for the
information of a third person but for the purpose of

41SAN BEDA COLLEGE

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Requirement of lawful purpose


For a communication to be privileged, it must be for a
lawful purpose or in furtherance of a lawful end. The
existence of an unlawful purpose prevents the privilege
from attaching (People v. Sandiganbayan, 275 SCRA
520).

Note: The assignee of the clients interest may assert the


privilege as far as the communication affects the
realization of the assigned interest. After the clients death,
his heir or legal representative may assert the Attorneyclient privilege as against a stranger to the estate but NOT
where the controversy is among the claimants of the
estate of the client (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics,
2009, p. 277).
Exceptions to the privilege (C/W-LPC)
1. When there is consent or waiver of client;
General rule: ONLY the client can waive the privilege.
Exception: When the person to be examined is the
attorneys secretary, stenographer or clerk, in which
case the consent of the lawyer is also necessary.
Waiver cannot be made partially. A waiver in part is a
waiver in whole for a client may not remove the seal of
confidentiality for his advantage and insist that it be
privileged as to so much as makes to the disadvantage
of his adversary (Orient Ins. Co. v. Revilla, 54 Phil. 919,
1930).
2. When the law requires disclosure;
3. When disclosure is made to protect the lawyers rights
(i.e., to collect his fees or defend himself, his employees
or associates or by judicial action); and
4. When such communications are made in contemplation
of a crime or the perpetuation of a fraud.

LEGAL ETHICS
The privileged communication between an attorney and
client may be a shield of defense as to crimes already
committed (Gerhardt v. United R Co., 220 SW 677, 9
ALR 1076, 1920).
Disclosure of name of client
General rule: The lawyer may NOT invoke the privilege
and refuse to divulge the name or identity of his client/s.
Reasons
1. Due process considerations require that the opposing
party should know the adversary;
2. The privilege pertain to the subject matter of the
relationship; and
3. The privilege begins to exist only after Attorney-client
relationship has been established. Hence it does not
attach until there is a client.
Exceptions (ICG)
1. When there is a strong possibility that revealing the
clients name would implicate the client in the very
activity for which he sought the lawyers advice;
2. When disclosure would open the client to civil liability;
and
3. When governments lawyers have no case against an
attorneys client and revealing the clients name would
furnish the only link that would form the chain of
testimony necessary to convict him (Regala v.
Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 105938, September 20,
1996).
Disclosure to protect attorneys rights
1. If an attorney is accused by his client of misconduct in
the discharge of his duty, he may disclose the truth in
respect to the accusation, including the clients
instructions or the nature of the duty which his client
expected him to perform (Canon 37, Canons of
Professional Ethics).
2. If an attorney is charged by a third person in connection
with the performance of his duty to his client, he may
also disclose his clients confidence relative thereto
(Bard v. Koerner, 279 F2d 623, 95 ALR2d 303, 1960).
3. An attorney suing a client for attorneys fees may also
disclose or use the confidential information of his client
if such disclosure or use is necessary to enable him to
secure his rights (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics,
2009, p.287).
Interviewing witnesses
Witness
A human instrumentality through which the law and its
ministers, the judges and lawyers, endeavors to ascertain
the truth and to dispense justice to the contending parties.

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
1. A lawyer may interview a witness in advance of trial to
guide him in the management of the litigation.
2. A lawyer may also interview a prospective witness for
the opposing side in any civil or criminal action without
the consent of the opposing counsel or party.
3. A lawyer may properly obtain statements from
witnesses whose names were furnished by the
opposing counsel or interview the employees of the
opposing party even though they are under subpoena to
appear as witnesses for the opposite side.
4. If after trial resulting in defendants conviction, his
counsel has been advised that a prosecution witness
has committed perjury, it is not only proper but it is the
lawyers duty to endeavor honorably to obtain such
witness retraction, even without advising the public
prosecutor of his purpose and even though the case is
pending appeal.
5. An adverse party, though he may be used as a witness,
is not, however, a witness within the meaning of the rule
permitting a lawyer to interview the witness of the
opposing counsel.
Rule 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of
his client, use information acquired in the course of
employment, nor shall he use the same to his own
advantage or that of a third person, unless the client
with full knowledge of the circumstances consents
thereto.
Rule 21.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the written
consent of his client, give information from his files to
an outside agency seeking such information for
auditing, statistical, bookkeeping, accounting, data
processing, or any similar purpose.
Rationale: The work product of a lawyer, such as his
effort, research and thought, and the records of his client,
contained in his filed are privileged matters (Hickman v.
Taylor, 91 L ed 451, 1947).
The purchase of the goodwill of a deceased lawyer by
another lawyer may likely involve a violation of this rule
(A.B.A Op. 226, June 21, 1945).
Since it has been proven that the cabinet belongs to a
lawyer and that he keeps the records of his client therein,
the lower court cannot order the opening of said cabinet. It
would be tantamount to compelling him to disclose his
clients secrets (People v. Sy Juco, 64 Phil. 667, 1937).
Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a
client of the firm to partners or associates thereof
unless prohibited by the client.

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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
The disclosure is not to a third person because members
or associates in the law firm are considered as one.
Rule 21.05 - A lawyer shall adopt such measures as
may be required to prevent those whose services are
utilized by him, from disclosing or using confidences
or secrets of the clients.
The lawyer should exercise care in selecting and training
his employees so that the sanctity of all confidences and
secrets of his clients may be preserved (Report of IBP
Committee, p.119).
Rule 21.06 - A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet
conversation about a client's affairs even with
members of his family.
Rule 21.07 - A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been
consulted about a particular case except to avoid
possible conflict of interest.
Rationale: The disclosure and the lawyers opinion
thereon create an attorney-client relationship, even though
the lawyer does not eventually accept the employment
(Hilado v. David, 84 Phil. 569, 1949).
Withdrawal of services
CANON 22: A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS
SERVICES ONLY FOR GOOD CAUSE AND UPON
NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.
The rule in this jurisdiction is that a client has the absolute
right to terminate the attorney-client relation at any time
with or without cause. The right of an attorney to withdraw
or terminate the relation other than for sufficient cause is,
however, considerably restricted (Orcino v. Gaspar, A.C.
No. 3773, September 24, 1997).
Termination of attorney client relationship
1. Withdrawal of lawyer under Rule 22.01
2. Death of lawyer
3. Death of client
4. Discharge by client
5. Appointment or election of a lawyer to a government
position which prohibits the practice of law
6. Full termination of the case

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LEGAL ETHICS

The rule is that the professional employment of a law firm


is equivalent to the retainer of the members thereof even
though only one of them is consulted; conversely, the
employment of one member of a law firm is generally
considered as employment of the law firm (Hilado v.
David, 84 Phil. 569, 1949).

7. Disbarment or suspension of the lawyer from the


practice of law
8. Intervening incapacity or incompetency of client during
pendency of the case
9. Declaration of presumptive death of the lawyer
10.
Conviction for a crime and imprisonment of the
lawyer for quite sometime (Pineda, Legal Ethics, 2009,
p.380).
Rule 22.01 - A lawyer may withdraw his services in
any of the following cases:
a. When the client pursues an illegal or immoral
course of conduct in connection with the matter he
is handling;
b.When the client insists that the lawyer pursue
conduct violative of these canons and rules;
c. When his inability to work with co-counsel will not
promote the best interest of the client;
d.When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer
renders it difficult for him to carry out the
employment effectively;
e. When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for
the services or fails to comply with the retainer
agreement;
In all the above cases, the lawyer must file a written
motion with an express consent of his client and the court
shall determine whether he ought to be allowed to retire.
g.When the lawyer is elected or appointed
office; and
h.Other similar cases

to public

He may also retire at any time from an action or special


proceeding, without the consent of his client, should the
court, on notice to the client and attorney, and on hearing,
determine that he ought to be allowed to retire (Rule 138,
Sec. 26, RRC).
The lawyer has no right to presume that his petition for
withdrawal will be granted by the court. Until his
withdrawal shall have been approved, the lawyer remains
counsel of record who is expected by his client as well as
by the court to do what the interests of his client require.
He must still appear on the date of hearing for the
attorney-client relation does not terminate formally until
there is a withdrawal of record (Orcino v. Gaspar, A.C. No.
3773, September 1997).
Acceptance of incompatible office
A lawyer who accepts public office ceases, by operation of
law, to engage in private law practice and becomes
disqualified from continuing to represent a client in those
cases which the law prohibits him from doing so or

LEGAL ETHICS
requires his entire time to be at the disposal of the
government. His qualification to public office operates to
ruminate the existing attorney-client relationship (Omico
Miniing & Industrial Corp. v.Vallejos, 63 SCRA 285, 1965).
Discharge of the attorney by the client
The client has the right to terminate at any time WITH OR
WITHOUT JUST CAUSE. Just cause is material only in
determining compensation.
While clients have the right to terminate their relations with
their counsel and make substitution or change at any
stage of the proceedings, the exercise of such right is
subject to compliance with the prescribed requirements.
This rule is intended to ensure the orderly disposition of
cases, without it, there will be confusion in the service of
processes, pleadings and other papers.
With just cause
Lawyer is not necessarily deprived of his right to be paid
for his services. He may only be deprived of such right if
the cause for his dismissal constitutes in itself a sufficient
legal obstacle to recovery.

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
Change or substitution of counsel
ways of changing counsel in a pending case
1. Clients discharge of his attorney at any time with or
without cause and thereafter employ another lawyer
who may then enter his appearance;
2. Attorney himself may initiate the move by withdrawing
his appearance either with the written consent of his
client or with leave of court on some justifiable ground;
or
3. Substitution of counsel in the form of an application for
that purpose (Laput v. Remotigue, 6 SCRA 45, 1962).
Requirements:
1. Written application for substitution;
2. Written consent of the client;
3. Written consent of the attorney to be substituted; and
4. In case such written consent cannot be secured, there
must be filed with the application proof of service of
notice of the application upon the attorney to be
substituted (Ong Ching v. Remolete, 51 SCRA 13,
1973).

Without just cause


1. And no express written agreement as to fees
reasonable value of his services up to the date of his
dismissal (quantum meruit).
2. And there is written agreement and the fee stipulated is
absolute and reasonable full payment of
compensation.
3. And the amount stipulated as contingent fee.
4. If dismissed before the conclusion of the action
reasonable value of his services (quantum meruit).
5. If contingency occurs or client prevents its occurrence
full amount.

Rule 22.02 - A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged


shall, subject to a retainer lien, immediately turn over
all papers and property to which the client is entitled,
and shall cooperate with his successor in the orderly
transfer of the matter, including all information
necessary for the proper handling of the matter.

Note: Lawyer should question his discharge, otherwise he


will only be allowed to recover on uantum meruit basis.

A lawyer who refuses to return documents or receipts until


his fees agreed upon have been paid is NOT guilty of
malpractice (Dauz vs. Fontanosa 9 SCRA 14).

Limitations of Clients Right to Discharge His Counsel


1. Client cannot deprive counsel of his right to be paid for
services rendered if dismissal is without cause;
2. Client cannot discharge counsel as an excuse to secure
repeated extensions of time; and
3. Notice of discharge required in so far as court and
adverse party are concerned.
Insofar as the court and other party are concerned, the
severance of the relation of attorney and client is NOT
effective until a notice of discharge by the client or a
manifestation clearly indicating that purpose is filed with
the court and a copy thereof served upon the adverse
party.

Duties of a Discharged Lawyer or One who Withdraws


1. Immediately turn-over all papers and property to which
the client is entitled; and
2. To cooperate with his successor in the orderly transfer
of the case.

But the retaining lien is dependent upon possession and


does not attach to anything not in attorney's hands. The
lien exists only so long as the attorney's retains
possession ends (Rustia vs. Abeto 72 Phil. 133).
Thus, the retaining lien does not attach to funds,
documents and papers which come into the lawyers
possession in some other capacity. (Sarmiento vs.
Montagne, 4 Phil. 1, 1959).

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